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Criminal Justice: Green Party Leaders Call For Radical Reforms

While Republicans generally continue the "tough on crime" hard line that has served them so well for decades and Democrats can barely be bothered to vote against DEA raids on medical marijuana providers, the US Green Party is calling for radical reforms in the criminal justice system to slow the mass incarceration juggernaut and undo biases against blacks, Hispanics, and the poor.
Cliff Thornton on the campaign trail
Green leaders this week called the US's status as world leader in incarceration -- in both percentage terms and real numbers -- a "shame on America" and expressed alarm at the systematic racial bias in the American criminal justice system. While they used the case of the "Jena Six" -- six black high school students from Jena, Louisiana, now charged with attempted murder for a schoolyard brawl in which no white students were charged -- as a hook, the Greens quickly honed in on the broader issues of criminal justice fairness and the drug war.

"The case of the Jena Six is emblematic of how people of color in the US face prosecution and sentencing," said Clifford Thornton, , Green candidate for governor of Connecticut in 2006 and cofounder of the drug reform group Efficacy. "The Jena Six prosecution is one of the more blatant and scandalous examples of how our justice system regularly criminalizes black and brown people -- especially children."

The Greens also cited a recent Sentencing Project study that found severe racial and ethnic disparities in how people are treated by the criminal justice system. The report found that blacks are imprisoned at a rate more than five times that of whites and Hispanics are imprisoned at a rate nearly double that of whites.

Green leaders listed several urgent measures to overhaul the justice system:

  • Federal monitoring of prosecutorial practices and sentencing patterns in all jurisdictions where such disparities are evident, in accord with civil rights laws.
  • Cancellation of the war on drugs, which Greens have called "a war on youth and people of color." The party notes that: "According to the DEA, FBI, Department of Justice, police agencies, and numerous public interest groups and researchers, 72% of all illegal drug users and most of those involved in the drug trade are white, while African-Americans make up only 13% of all illegal drug users and a tiny percentage of drug importers. Despite these numbers, the overwhelming percentage of those incarcerated for drugs are black."
  • Abolition of the death penalty.
  • Repeal of zero tolerance and mandatory sentencing statutes, which enlarge the power of prosecutors and erode judicial discretion.
  • An end to abuses of the plea-bargaining system, which have resulted in the imprisonment of innocent people who lack the financial resources to defend themselves sufficiently in court.
  • An end to the privatization of the prison system, which creates economic incentives to put more people behind bars, since corporate prison owners and contractors increase their profits when more cells are filled up. Greens have drawn links between privatized prisons and draconian drug laws, the targeting of poor people and people of color for prosecution, mandatory and severe sentencing, high death penalty rates in some states, and other policies.

Does your party have these platform planks? Why not?

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Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Pot is Peace Weed

Marijuana is such a resourcesful product in that it's an antiinflammatory and helps with cancer cell metastasis and lessening of other painful diseases caused by inflammation. Politics is the only reason it is illegal as he keeps alot of black, latino, and young people in the system which keeps stupid people in employment who could not get a job anywhere else.

Good for the Green Party... All Newcomers Are Welcome!

I believe the Libertarian Party has been fighting the illegal & unconstitutional drug war long before there was a Green Party, DRCnet, MPP, NRML, etc... Over 30 years that I've been affiliated... but, hey, all newcomers are welcome... ya' know... the enemy of my enemy is my friend thing!

Nietsche is correct: 1) All philosophies have a dark side that must be concealed in order to flourish. 2) All truth requires falsehood... and they a proportionately related... the greater the truth the greater the falsehood.

If that doesn't scare the shit out of you it should, atleast, help explain why neither reigning party can follow the law of the land... and we all suffer them.

For conservatives... whether to kill or incarcerate those you disagree with must be horrible to contemplate... so you don't! With your god ranting to kill me in one ear and Jesus telling you to be compassionate in the other... it's no wonder you decided to keep your head safely parked up your ass!

For liberals... concealing your truely socialistic nature and fiscal irresponsibility under the cloak of democracy is no doubt daunting... but stupidity is on your side as long as you keep promising FREE entitlements that, well, aren't FREE. I guess if you call something free long enough it makes it so!

So is it really any wonder why western christian civilization is on it's current path? A society that for the most part abnegates its civic responsibilities to self aggrandizing delusional fools!

You can not have a rational debate with Government or Religion in the room!

Billy B. Blunt
Tacoma, WA

Welcome Aboard......Hope It's Not Too Late!!!!!

I am sick of so called "progressive parties" who are anemic when it comes to getting on the bandwagon. As the Liberty Union Party candidate for Vermont's Lieutenant Governors seat in the 2004 race I was astonished by what passes for "progresive politics" in the state of Vermont. The "progressive" sounded like 'democrat lite'. Nowadays it is hard to know what "democrat" means as they are such a spineless group of reactionaries inexorably coupled to these republican Nazis. Never-the-less, regardless of the vitupritve back and forth-they stand side by side when it comes to this stupid, irrational, counterproductive, expensive and racist war on drugs.

So.... welcome aboard the bandwagon with the kick-ass music! You folks better get to work quick because I as I see it you are a day late and a doller short. But good luck never the less. Sincerely yours, Peter Stevenson.

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