On March 1st, in state Capitols and Governors’ offices across the country, thousands gathered to unite their voices in solidarity. In Sacramento, HDA partnered with justice organizations throughout the state. Survivors of violent crime, the formerly incarcerated, family members of murder victims, and family of offenders serving extreme sentences voiced impactful personal stories with legislators.
Change for a more responsive and humane justice practice begins with empathy. Humanization. We marched. We spoke. We walked the halls of the State Capitol with legislators who listened to our ideas, seeking transformation that is both necessary and possible. Policymakers across the country in all fifty states could remain distant no longer. The statistics were standing in front of them, speaking their truths.
We met with CA State Senator Nancy Skinner, a strong believer that rehabilitation works, and should be fundamental to redeeming the overwhelming numbers of offenders who can do so, if given a chance. There are sociopaths who will always remain imprisoned to protect communities. For the many, a second chance means that incarcerated persons can return to their homes and communities as good parents and citizens. Senator Skinner acknowledges that real problems of crime cannot be repaired until we examine the full social issues that lead to crime in the first place.
We must be at the core of meaningful policy change which keeps all of us safer in our communities, keeps our families whole, and makes justice equitable for all people.
In fifty states and in Washington DC we asked for policy change that:
Keeps Families Together
: Reforms pretrial detention. Ends debtors’ prisons. Provides alternatives to incarceration. Enables executive clemency for drug offenders who can be safely released.
Keeps Families Connected
: Preserves the integrity of physical visitation. Changes the treatment of mothers of young children in prison. Supports children with incarcerated family members.
Protects our Youth
: Ends the school to prison pipeline. Raises the age of juvenile offenders. Ends the practice of sending children to adult prisons.
Provides Pathways to Opportunity
: Educates prisoners. Treats addiction and supports recovery. Bans employment practices and policies that deny second chances, and encourage employers to hire formerly incarcerated individuals. Restores rights to people with criminal convictions. Helps crime victims heal. Prevents new crimes from occurring. (Cut#50 Used with permission)