Missouri’s criminal justice system is broken. Our state has the fastest growing female prisoner population in the country, and the percent of people formerly incarcerated that return to prison consistently ranks in the nation’s top ten. To make things worse, almost half of all parole or probation violations that end in a return to prison were caused by the failures of the probation or parole supervisors assigned to the person’s case.
Having a large portion of our population behind bars does no good for us as a district, a state, or a country. Our economy is weakened, family bonds are broken, and people’s civil rights and freedoms are routinely stripped. We must find a way to lessen the burden on our criminal justice system and keep the families of the 85th District whole.
Fair sentencing of youth
– Psychiatric hospitals in our state treat children up to 18 years old in juvenile facilities, but children under the age of 18 are routinely tried as adults in our state and city courts. By stripping a child’s future, we also strip just how far the 85th can go.
– The bail system, while originally used as assurance that the defendant shows up in court, has become an oppressive tool used to control our city’s most vulnerable communities. We must implement no-cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies to ensure that we are not locking our citizens away without a trial.
– Only a few years ago, Ferguson, our neighbor to the north, made national headlines with the killing of Michael Brown. We all remember the months that followed. It is of the utmost importance to implement community policing to ensure the safety of our residents and our police officers, who put themselves in the line of fire every day. By reforming the ticketing systems that financially oppresses our most vulnerable communities and fosters distrust between the 85th’s residents and our police forces, we can start to rebuild the important relationship between the residents of the 85th and those who have sworn to protect and serve the community.
Child support reform
– Child support should be reformed to mirror St. Louis City’s system for child support court funding, and we should promote statewide reform on treating child support as a civil issue rather than a criminal one.
Helping returning citizens rebuild their lives
– By establishing the “Former Felon Mentorship Program” returning citizens who have paid their debt to society will have access to a mentorship program that connects them with other returning citizens who have succeeded after their incarceration.