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Democratic Platform Committee calls for an end to mass incarceration

By Frederick H. Lowe

The Democratic Platform Drafting Committee has approved a plank, calling for the end of mass incarceration, which occurred under President Bill Clinton and then First Lady Hillary Clinton, who is expected to become the party’s nominee for President when Democrats convene July 25th to July 28th in Philadelphia.

Prison bars
Prison bars

“The current draft calls for ending the era of mass incarceration, shutting down private prisons, ending racial profiling, reforming the grand jury process, investing in the re-entry programs, banning the box to help give people a second chance and prioritizing treatment over incarceration for individuals suffering with addiction,” the Drafting Committee announced on June 25.

Clinton’s 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, a tough-on-crime bill led to mass incarceration of black men and significant increases in the imprisonment of black women. This a was a major issue at the sparsely attended National Black Political Convention last month in Gary, Ind. Attendees said they wanted to influence the Democratic Party’s platform.

Most, if not all members of the Congressional Black Caucus, voted for the legislation, but now some are saying they regretted their vote.

Drafting Committee members also voted to support states that choose to decriminalize marijuana because police are arresting blacks who possess marijuana at much higher rates than they arrest whites.

The committee also called for increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding Social Security and launching an aggressive jobs plan that would include historic investments in the nation’s infrastructure, a commitment to small businesses and a robust technology agenda.

The platform draft covers a number of other issues, including universal health care and the environment.

The draft will be put before the full 187-member Platform Committee for final approval during a meeting in Orlando, Fla., on July 8th and 9th.

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