Crime in the United States is a multifaceted issue with no one clear cause. We can try to trace the root of crime to poverty, poor education, and systemic disadvantages. But crime is an elusive issue and generally the result of all three variables. Most of the crimes committed in the United States are nonviolent drug offenses. America’s war on drugs has systematically targeted people of color for the last 70+ years. The majority of people incarcerated today are black and Latino men convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. Today 45% of people housed in federal prisons are also mentally ill; this number increases as we go down the list, and look at the state and local prisons.
- Expand the Economy, Secure Grants for the Albuquerque Police Department. The only way to address crime is by uprooting the cause of crime, a healthy economy that provides good-paying jobs. We need a member of Congress who will fight for these vital grant programs, and secure funding for a Communication Center to allow APD, Bernalillo County, and State Police to communicate across departments.
- Legalize Marijuana and Roll Back the Drug War. States spend over $3.6 billion on enforcing federal marijuana laws; these are burdensome costs that could be directly invested in correctional rehabilitation. 27% of our federal prison population is incarcerated for marijuana, our prisons are already overcrowded and underfunded, removing this population would free up resources and reduce dependence on private-for-profit prisons.
- Stand Up for the Rights of the Mentally Ill. People with mental illness require different rehabilitation programs than the rest of the general population. At any given time there are more than 500,000 Americans with mental health problems incarcerated in the US. All these people have a right to proper and fair treatments while serving out their incarceration. Correctional health is one of my priorities, and it is crucial to rehabilitate people out of prison successfully.