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May 7, 2019
After the death penalty
In March, California governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order establishing a moratorium on executions. The order impacts 737 people currently facing capital punishment in the state, nearly one out of four in the country. California joins an expanding list of states that are slowly moving away from the death penalty.
Shari Siberstein, the director of Equal Justice USA, writes that the end of the death penalty in this country would create the space, and save the resources, needed for a very different conversation about justice - one that centers treating trauma and the roots of violence. Her article in Truthout is must read for today:
We have an opportunity to reimagine the punishment paradigm altogether. As we dismantle capital punishment state by state, we free up crucial resources that can be invested in solving the root causes of trauma, violence and mass incarceration that devastate communities of color, deepen racial disparities and scar millions. I am talking about proven violence intervention programs that use public health strategies to interrupt violence before it happens; trauma-informed healing in communities harmed by violence; restorative justice programs that allow people to truly own and repair the harm they cause; and other community-based solutions that emphasize safety and healing over retribution and more pain. In those instances where safety necessitates some limited period of separation, that separation should not inflict more suffering. Rather, it should create the conditions necessary for people to take responsibility, change, and come out better off.
Read the full article here.
Republicans working on immigration plan….where are the Democrats?
The White House is meeting with GOP Senators this afternoon to talk over immigration policy. Trump’s son in-law, Jared Kushner, is also preparing a comprehensive immigration reform – it is not clear if this is Kushner’s plan, or not. On the table is “possibly” some relief for Dreamers (individuals brought into the country as children), a “merit based” visa system, and “strong measures” to lower “illegal” immigration. So, what we have, in keeping with the election season, are adjectives circling around some ideas we’ve mostly heard before, that may eventually make it to policy proposals that won’t pass a divided Congress.
It might all seem a waste of time, but this is election time!
Trump is preparing to go into the election with a plan - it will be a horrible plan - but a plan nonetheless. Where are the Democrats? If Democrats are paying attention, their heretofore reluctance to discuss substantive policy changes on immigration should be jettisoned. They are not going to be able sit out this discussion on immigration with nothing but jibes at Trump’s base this time.