I believe the open wounds of our past demand a new commitment to criminal justice.
Early in my teaching career I taught at a medium security men’s prison in California, and sometimes I would ask the inmates, “When did you lose hope and lose your dreams?” They would say at the age of 11, 12, or 13. They made some bad choices—but they did not pick their parents, they did not pick their schools, they did not pick their community, they did not pick their country. Society has made some bad choices, too. Either we have liberty and justice for all, or we don’t. Either we do unto the least of these, or we don’t. We are reaping what we have sown.
The open wounds of our past demand a new commitment to criminal justice. We need:
- More police training,
- Changes in mandatory minimum sentencing and criminal justice,
- Prison reform,
- New ways to police the police
- Drug treatment on demand,
- Expanded drug courts,
- A comprehensive study of the real risks of marijuana.