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U.S. Senator Cory Booker. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe

Reforming the Broken Criminal Justice System Has Been at the Center of Booker’s Career

For years, Cory has led and advanced the national debate about criminal justice reform. As president, he’ll take the next steps forward for reform.

By NJG Press Releases, August 01 2019 12:03 am

Newark, NJ —
 Tonight on the debate stage, Cory Booker highlighted how fixing our country’s broken criminal justice system has been at the center of his career.

From his time as mayor of Newark opening the city’s first Office of Reentry, to his work in the Senate introducing over a dozen criminal justice reform bills, including legislation to end the federal prohibition on marijuana, Cory has long worked to reform the broken criminal justice system.

Last year, Cory was instrumental in helping pass into law the landmark First Step Act , which is helping to turn the tide against mass incarceration. Among many other provisions, the law effectively bans juvenile solitary confinement, reforms the way women are treated behind bars, and makes eligible for release over 2,000 incarcerated individuals who were serving sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.

But that’s not all. As president, Cory will:

  • Decriminalize marijuana and restore justice to individuals and communities that have been devastated by the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs disproportionately harmed low-income and communities of color. Building on Cory’s Marijuana Justice Act, he would begin by expunging marijuana convictions, reinvesting in communities most impacted by the War on Drugs, and encouraging states to reform their laws.
  • Restore justice through the power of clemency. On day one in office, President Cory Booker would initiate a clemency process for approximately 17,000 people serving excessive sentences in federal prisons, representing the most sweeping clemency initiative in more than 150 years.
  • Eliminate the racially-targeted sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences by reducing it from 18:1 to 1:1.
  • Reduce harsh mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses, and make those reforms retroactive.
  • Reinvest in the communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.
  • Improve the ability of those behind bars to stay in touch with their loved ones, including through reasonable rates on phone calls, which has proven to reduce the risk of recidivism.
  • Remove barriers to employment for people with criminal convictions by “banning the box,” making it easier to receive occupational licenses, and allowing former drug offenders to receive essential public assistance benefits.
  • Reinstate the right to vote in federal elections for formerly incarcerated individuals.
  • Provide better training for law enforcement officers on implicit racial bias, de-escalation and use-of-force.
  • Prohibit racial and religious profiling and improve the reporting of police use-of-force incidents.

In the past five years alone, Cory has introduced numerous criminal justice reform proposals, including: the REDEEM Act, the CARERS Act, the PRIDE Act, the MERCY Act, the Fair Chance Act, the Equal Justice Under Law Act, the Gideon Act, the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, the Reverse Mass Incarceration Act, and the Marijuana Justice Act.

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