criminal justice reform
For over 400 years Black Americans have been subjected to systemic oppression and marginalization and that storyline continues today in Florida 55 years after Jim Crow ended. In 2018 64% of voters voted YES on Amendment 4 restoring the right to vote to people who have served their time. Since its passage though we have seen Governor Ron DeSantis fight to preserve an oppressive system that disenfranchises voters from participating in democracy. Not only do we need to fight in the Florida State House to restore the rights of returning citizens without obstacles, we also must pass national legislation to Ban the Box. When we win, we will file legislation that recognizes the historical record of criminalization and marginalization of Black Americans that gives them a fair opportunity to a job. Over 30% of Jacksonville’s residents are African Americans-with more black people than our sister cities like Miami and Tampa we should especially be leading this fight for decriminalization and inclusion. Not only should we be advocating for a ban on private prisons in the state of Florida we should also legalize marijuana and redirect the State’s budget for more criminal justice reforms, literacy freedoms, and recidivism.
Jacksonville holds a bad rap for our gun violence and criminalization of communities of color. We saw the issue of Freedom of Speech and surveillance in 2017, a national spotlight in our struggles with gun violence especially in communities of color, and over 50 murders since the beginning of January and an increase in jailing's of black women and men. We will invest in education and fight back against the school-to-prison pipeline with community programs that will promote and service the needs of at-risk students. One major way we can take further steps to Criminal Justice Reform is by banning private prisons, legalizing marijuana, and decriminalizing sex work. We should shift to a more rehabilitative approach to justice and reform a criminal justice system that has targeted poor Black and People of Color. Connell Crooms will work to reform a system that has criminalized poverty and sought to control women’s bodies with abortion bans and penalties.
community control of police
Over the last decade we have seen Jacksonville struggle
with reigning in crime. Under the leadership of Sheriff
Mike Williams and establishment officials we as
taxpayers have given the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
more than 30 cents per dollar to target black
communities. The police are servants to the public
and that too includes minority communities who have
no power in an independent investigation when they are
victims of police violence. Recently the city has been rocked
by a wave of gun violence since the start of 2020 and police shootings are no different. FAMU student Jamee Johnson was recently pulled over for a seat belt violation that resulted in his death. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is refusing to release any body camera footage or give an incident report to what exactly happened that fateful evening. These are just some of the few reasons why we are proposing an all-Elected Citizens Review Board with the power to hire and fire, amend policies, and foster healthier community relations between the police and the public. Repealing the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights is crucial to our criminal justice reform efforts because we recognize that we cannot arrest our way out of poverty and that people deserve accountability to the power that law enforcement officers hold to impact negatively on the lives they are sworn to protect.