Vote YES on the 2021 Primary Election criminal justice ballot measures

solitary prison cell (Image by Ichigo121212/Pixabay)On May 18, 2021, Pittsburgh voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on two criminal justice ballot measures; those in the rest of the county can vote on one. The Pittsburgh measure would prohibit no-knock warrants. The Allegheny County measure would prohibit solitary confinement in the county jail.

Just Harvest is urging a YES vote on both measures. (You can see our position on the four other statewide ballot measures here.)

Mass incarceration and the criminalization of poverty create a cyclical pattern of poverty, incarceration, and hunger. Criminal justice reforms are critical to ending poverty and hunger. Practices such as solitary confinement make it harder for incarcerated individuals to successfully re-enter society, further feeding this cycle.

No-knock warrants are disproportionately used against Black and brown communities as part of the “war on drugs” and often result in violence. Police violence against people of color harms the victims both mentally and physically, and degrades faith in the law enforcement system, ultimately undermining public safety. Trauma, fear of violence, chronic toxic stress – these are all factors in perpetuating intergenerational poverty.

One of Just Harvest’s organizational principles is that “All people, regardless of their economic circumstances, are entitled to dignity and rights.” Using traumatizing military tactics as a response to non-violent crimes and placing people in prison conditions that international human rights standards consider torture are a violation of that principle.

Additional Resources

Alliance for Police Accountability: Ballot measures background info

Abolitionist Law Center: Prisoners’ Rights Advocates File Class Action Lawsuit Against Allegheny County Over Failed Mental Health Care System at ACJ.

Share Our Strength podcast: “Confronting Addiction’s Demons”

Just Harvest: Statement on racist policing and incarceration

 

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