POLICE, JUDICIAL & PRISON REFORM
POLICE, JUDICIAL & PRISON REFORM
I believe that we need to take a serious look at our entire judicial system from top to bottom, starting with the officers emplaced to enforce the laws to the judges and legal representation who are responsible for interpreting and handing down punishment / exoneration to the prison system that is there to reform convicted persons.
Law enforcement personnel have a strenuous responsibility and even those who have the best intentions are susceptible to failure and bad judgement. We need to ensure that we are screening and selecting the proper persons to serve in these roles and we owe it to both them and the general public to ensure that they are physically safe and mentally cared for. The screening process to become a Law Enforcement Officer needs to be more in depth; background checks that check and double check the applicant; psychological evaluations that screen out individuals who may not have the psychological capacity or ability to deal with the rigors of this profession on a daily basis or over time. Once screened and selected the training process needs to be thorough and challenging both physically and mentally. The training and education of those who chose to pursue a career in law enforcement needs to be revamped; there is no way that a 60-day academy can teach a new officer how to adjudicate the law and perform the service they are there to learn. Once training is complete the officers need to be periodically and annually screened and evaluated and have outlets to deal with the stresses of this profession.
The judicial system needs to be overhauled; judges can rule unfairly from person to person which gives the outlook that there is some sort of racial or social inequality. Judges need to rule in an equal manner; 2 people with similar criminal histories should face the same punishments for a similar crime regardless of their social-economic status. Lawyers and Attorneys need to be held to a much higher standard and need to be punished severely for covering up or withholding evidence that would otherwise lead to a fair ruling.
An additional reform to the judicial system needs to come in the form of bail reform. Our current bail system allows those with greater assets to avoid any kind of jail time because they have the financial ability to post bail while poorer individuals cannot afford the same ability to remain free until proven guilty. I propose a system that would have a tiered bail program based on the number of previous convictions and the value of assets available to them; say based on percentage of fiscal worth. Once a person posts bail they will automatically turn over their passports until the judicial process is complete. Anyone who is being tried on a matter of a violent crime will not be allowed to post bail. In addition, we need a system where we can house individuals who have not posted bail but have not been convicted; kind of a purgatory holding facility that is not prison or jail as they have not been proven guilty or innocent. This facility would be a controlled facility where a person’s rights are not violated but is not as restrictive as prison or jail. If a person is found innocent / not-guilty, bail is returned to that individual.
The prison system in our country is in shambles. The idea is that someone convicted of a crime has the ability to rehabilitate and get a fresh start after serving their sentence is a joke, at best. The reality is that once someone is incarcerated, they will never have the ability to have a normal life without diving deeper into a criminal lifestyle. Prison needs to perform rehabilitation and life / job training to benefit the inmates that have the ability to return to society. Those that do not have any chance of rehabilitation or returning to society need to be treated humanely but need to be separated from those who have the ability to return to society. I am not suggesting inhumane treatment, but prison should not be a resort stay with free education, gym membership, the best meals and amenities granted to those living outside confinement. Those who rehabilitate and are returned to society need to have a sealed record and a real second chance.