I would support the complete legalization of marijuana (and of course I would also support a pretty good tax on its sale in order to boost revenues). I would also support resentencing guidelines for all people presently incarcerated for drug offenses. I am deeply disturbed by the fact that our prisons contain disproportionate percentages of the mentally ill and African-Americans. Sheriff Tom Dart has done a great deal to publicize the fact that there are so many people in jail simply because they are mentally ill. These people can be treated more humanely and more cost-effectively. This of course goes back to the issue that we are not taking care of our mentally ill in this State due to budget problems. We have to address the budget problem so that we will have the funds to help our sick.
The over-incarceration of African-Americans is one of the more shameful episodes of recent history. Beginning with Reagan’s “War on Drugs” and the “Three Strikes Your Out” policies of Clinton, and the enforcement of these policies against blacks, we know have the sad result that over 10% of young African-American males are currently imprisoned and several times that amount have been imprisoned. This has had a devastating effect on our cities and our families. Obviously, going to prison is an awful experience, but the terrible difficulty of trying to re-enter productive society after serving time is possibly an even worse problem. I will advocate for laws that would make it illegal for an employer to ask (or otherwise find out) if a person was ever convicted or incarcerated for a misdemeanor violation or a felony that was a drug offense. As a result, such an ex-con would have a better chance of being able to support their family.