Criminal Justice Reform

We cannot continue the disturbing trend of incarcerating more than one out of every 100 adults in the United States. Many federal laws that exist seem to promote what many consider to be a systematic problem that stacks “the system” against the average person.

Throughout my life, I have witnessed our criminal justice system unfairly treat groups based upon their racial, religious or sexual background. The most alarming trend is the fact that one in three black men can expect to go to prison at some point in their life. We cannot tolerate the continuation of this epidemic – unfair prosecution and illegal profiling are two issues that we must work together to end.

“I agree that the system is totally staked against the average Marylander."

I will fight to reform our criminal justice system to promote true equality. An individual’s racial, economic, religious or sexual preference should not be a factor in how laws are enforced or prosecution is rendered. I believe Washington must end loopholes and strengthen laws that will completely ban police departments from racially profiling. One of my priorities in Congress will be to propose legislation to encourage stronger bonds between law enforcement agencies and communities.

As part of criminal justice reform, I believe Congress must decriminalize marijuana. The research is clear that marijuana should be changed from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance. Similar to how states currently have the right to regulate the sale of tobacco, I will support legislation that gives individual states the right to decide how they want to regulate marijuana for medical and recreational uses.

I will work with Congress to also dismantle the unfair “strike” system for nonviolent offenders. I see no reason why mandatory penalty strikes should exist for minor drug crimes. Further, those newly released from prison should have barriers reduced to allow them to enter back into society. While I do believe there are a few violent crimes that should follow, we must work to end the revolving jailhouse door.