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Letter: Sanders supports reform of criminal justice system

Sanders supports reform of criminal justice system

While he acknowledges and appreciates the courage and sacrifices made by criminal justice professionals, Bernie Sanders believes that changes must be made to make certain all members of society are fully able to enjoy the benefits of this country. Without taking anything away from the officers who faithfully serve and protect, Sanders advocates for substantive changes that will improve how Americans deal with issues of crime, deviance and mental health.

Sanders believes we need to halt the damaging war on drugs, which has harmed so many families and communities, and stop the mass incarceration that has accompanied it. A focus on prevention and substance abuse treatment is a more humane and cost-effective approach, in keeping with American values. At the same time, we must end the movement toward for-profit prisons, reform the court system and institute changes in the structure and operation of law enforcement, which have driven a wedge between officers and those who live in the community. Sanders fully supports the agenda of the Black Lives Matter movement because it will lead to improvements in the safety and quality of life for all citizens, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, religion, disability or gender orientation. Only when every person lives with dignity can any of us live in peace. As Martin Luther King memorably said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Yvonne Downes