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Why did Democrats object to reforms to the racist justice system?

You may not have heard that the California government Gavin Newsom signed a package. Eight police reforms Last month’s bill, including accountability and transparency measures that local justice reform activists have long sought. Or that Illinois. Cash guarantee expired As a set of reforms in February that restructured the state’s premature detention system. Or that Oklahoma – a red state – is in the midst of an unexpected bilateral conversation Decrease in population Lost in its own flowing network of prisons.

if you What Listen to any of these stories, it was definitely not by democratic politicians. Even as state and local reformers continue to make great strides in removing cash bail and the school-to-prison pipeline, the National Democrats have almost completely abandoned public debate on criminal justice reform.

It wasn’t long before Democrats – led by then-candidate Joe Biden – fought major criminal justice and policing reforms as part of the message of a successful 2020 campaign. Rewarded with power, Democrats quickly lost their appetite for what Republicans enacted as radical legislation designed to defend the police. Nine out of ten Americans in fact Support Extensive reforms in criminal justice

Bilateral discussions on criminal justice reform, already dying after months of inaction, Finally fell last week. When Republicans refused to support Democrats’ proposed measures to increase police accountability. Democrats have allowed the GOP to send a message around criminal justice reform in which Democratic lawmakers are intimidating themselves.

For more than a year, Republicans have painted an invaluable account of record crime rates, street anarchy, and bid liberals disarming and disrespecting law enforcement. An additional $ 200 million. Increased in NYPD and blue cities across the United States. Police budget To record levels.

Despite knowing that voters were with them, Democrats sold the GOP. The leadership, including Biden, seems to be backing away from criminal justice reformers who are a large part of the party’s workforce. It was cowardice at the time. Now that the GOP’s arguments have been shown to be nonsense, the continued democratic silence is unacceptable.


Protesters outside New York City Hall on September 22 demanded the closure of Rickers Island prisons. Officials visiting the high-profile prison and former inmates who spoke to AFP say conditions in the sprawling complex have deteriorated dramatically due to widespread staff shortages during the epidemic. AFP via Getty Images “

Kenna Bettencourt

Published last year by the Brennan Center “Federal agenda for criminal justice reformA workable outline of the Democrats’ desire to reform everything from policing to prison. Unfortunately for reformists, the Biden administration has stopped fixing polarizing issues such as amnesty reform and our police. Smaller, often less resourceful states and local efforts are in a strange and embarrassing position to advocate more vigorously for the democratic agenda than the Democratic Party.

Ames Gravert, senior counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice, told the Daily Beast that leadership at the federal level brings change at the state and local levels. “But states are making progress this year. Recently, New York enacted the Minimum Act, a major parole reform bill, and a statewide ‘Clean Slate’ law.”

Bilateral talks are over and hopes for George Floyd’s ambitious passage of the Policing Act are dashed. State and local activists face a political scenario where a new party takes power, but little has changed. Is.

This is troubling for Los Angeles-based civil rights lawyer Scott Hatchinger. someone with dignity., A national organization that trains public defenders. Hatchinger, whose influence. Twitter account. Often read as a laundry list of the latest criminal justice wrath, it does not diminish the words of how many reformers feel.

“The reaction from our local and national democratic leaders is extremely disappointing and even more dangerous,” Hatchinger told the Daily Beast. “Instead of using their platforms, to make their constituencies aware of the need to end our half-century of deep racist, costly, failed strategies, they have belittled the movement for justice.” That’s what they claimed. ”

Hatchinger described the Democrats’ distance from the criminal justice reform movement as particularly disappointing. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a stranger who once presided over police violence. Mocked local families and workers. Who demanded police reform. In March, Democratic representatives. In terms of Ron Kund and Jared Golden Theater Voted against George Floyd Justice in Policing Act


Police officers wearing protective masks stand in front of a correctional sign of criminal justice during the Republican National Convention in Washington DC on August 27, 2020. Convention, arguing that voters who cannot trust Biden or the Democratic Party to visit the Corona virus epidemic or end the nation’s racial divide.


The ones who suffer the most from the inaction of the Congress are the communities that are already facing difficulties. Surprising police violence And a patchwork of state legal systems that include only black and brown Americans in their shared priority. Five times the rate of whitesEven if it means. The formation of imaginary crimes To justify fraudulent arrests, as officials did in Rutherford County, Tennessee. In our justice system, bad actors run to take advantage of Washington’s grid lock, which has dire consequences for the least likely to see or hear their elected officials.

Without Democrats’ guidance on criminal justice and policing issues, the national dialogue has become extremely quiet. In January of this year, public engagement on criminal justice reform was on the rise. According to statistics From Google Trends, but since then it has dropped by almost three quarters. Once a big united issue, Democrats are now barely whispering about fixing our justice system.

As the nation takes the form of one of the most horrific battles in memory of the midterm elections, the window of serious criminal justice reform is closing. There are still opportunities for bilateral action, if only Democrats dare to resume talks: the Ecole Act, which will end the distinction between crack and powdered cocaine, is an area of ​​broad consensus. The first step is the Enforcement Act, which will precede parts of the 2018 Penal Code.

If Democrats want these victories, they need to reaffirm one of their most basic electoral promises: that we must rebuild this deadly, flawed, violent, costly mess that replaces the real justice system at the moment. Stands on


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