Skin color and social economic status should not influence outcomes in our justice system. I am resolved to improving criminal justice policy so that it is truly fair and blind to race. While working in the White House and then at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the late 1990’s, I focused on racial and social justice issues. I am bringing this experience to Congress to ensure that the criminal justice framework functions as a stabilizing—and not a divisive—force in the community.
Congress must continue to focus on the pervasive use of racial profiling, ways to improve law enforcement interaction with the community, and providing adequate health care for inmates. I have championed legislation to require sensitivity training for law enforcement officers, pushed for a comprehensive approach to combating AIDS in prisons and called for an end to racial profiling.
The “tough on crime” policies of the 1990s have wreaked havoc on communities of color. Once out of prison or jail, those who have served their time continue to face obstacles that prevent them from properly reintegrating into society. They must work every day to overcome the stigma commonly associated with former-inmates and surmount near-impossible barriers to access housing and obtain employment.