MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES SEEKS SWEEPING LEGISLATIVE CHANGES

Proposed federal legislation that would radically transform the nation’s criminal justice system through such changes as eliminating agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration and the use of surveillance technology is set to be unveiled Tuesday by the Movement for Black Lives.

Dubbed the BREATHE Act, the legislation is the culmination of a project led by the policy table of the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 150 organizations.

The other sections lay out a detailed plan to achieve an equitable future, calling for sweeping changes that would eliminate federal programs and agencies “used to finance and expand” the U.S. criminal-legal system.

The elimination would target agencies such as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has come under fire in recent years for its aggressive deportation efforts, and lesser-known programs such as Department of Defense 1033, which allows local law enforcement agencies to obtain excess military equipment.

The act, which also seeks to reduce the Department of Defense budget, would institute changes to the policing, pretrial detention, sentencing and prosecution practices that Cullors said have long disproportionately criminalized Black and brown communities, LGBTQIA people, Indigenous people, and individuals with disabilities.

The bill would end life sentences, abolish all mandatory minimum sentencing laws and create a “time bound plan” to close all federal prisons and immigration detention centers.

The bill would direct Congress to establish a Community Public Safety Office that would conduct research on non-punitive, public safety-focused interventions that would be funded through new grants, and programs like a “Free Them All” Matching Grant Program offering a 50% federal match for projected savings when states and communities close detention facilities, local jails, and state or youth prisons.

Go deeper

Posted in: Social Justice

Tagged as: