Our justice system routinely abuses the rights of Americans. These abuses are not violations of abstract principles — they destroy the lives of individuals, their families, and entire communities.
To bring about real change and restore legitimacy to our justice system, a legislative vision must address the needs of Americans most impacted by longstanding, pervasive, and enduring biases: low-income communities of color, immigrants, trans and gender-nonconforming folks, and the homeless. Their goals form the basis of our justice platform.
In Congress, Shahid will support reforms to end mass surveillance and mass incarceration. The following discrete federal policy proposals — many of which were powerfully articulated by the Movement for Black Lives in its 2016 policy platform — aim towards a broader vision of systemic transformation and collective liberation. Having stood in solidarity with the movements for police accountability and immigrant rights, Shahid is eager to champion in Congress their interests and those of other progressive social movements.
To learn more about Shahid’s campaign to replace Pelosi in the House, visit www.shahidforchange.us.
Our congressional campaign stands in solidarity with San Franciscans and other Americans who have endured abuses at the hands of a predatory criminal justice system pervaded by economic and racial biases. I commit to advocating for their rights in Congress. In particular, if elected to represent California’s 12th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, I will seek in the next congressional session the passage of legislation that will:
- Prohibit profiling by law enforcement and intelligence agencies based on race, religion, or national origin, by enacting the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act (H.R.1498).
- Limit the transfer of military weapons to state and local police departments by passing the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R.1232).
- Remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and end the failed war on drugs.
- Further amend the Controlled Substances Act to reduce mandatory minimum sentences by passing by the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S.2123).
- Abolish civil asset forfeiture and the related practice of federal adoption, which allow law enforcement to seize money and property from people accused of crimes even if they are never convicted.
- Restrict the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers, by making deadly force justifiable only when objectively necessary to prevent imminent bodily injury or death, not whenever potentially reasonable as currently allowed.
- Reform the qualified immunity doctrine and enhance police accountability for uses of force.
- Fund and develop a national registry for police officers to ensure that those who have been dismissed for cause from a law enforcement agency, or who have been involved in incidents prompting citizen complaints for excessive use of force, are not re-hired elsewhere. The use of deadly force towards an unarmed civilian should be per se grounds to preclude being hired by any law enforcement agency.
- Prohibit money bail, mandatory fines, and other barriers to justice for low-income defendants.
- Prohibit the use of past criminal history to determine eligibility for services such as housing, education, licenses, voting, loans, and employment.
- De-militarize our borders, de-commission biometric surveillance programs embedded in immigration enforcement initiatives, and provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers and their families.
- Ensure that any legislation or resource extraction scheme that affects the rights of indigenous peoples is adopted in consultation with them and only with their free, prior, and informed consent.
- Tie funding for state law enforcement to a series of reforms, including stricter consequences for excessive use of force, expanded training on de-escalation, as well as a requirement that mental health clinicians accompany officers responding to mental health crisis calls.
- Amend the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 to end the mandated support of police departments, and make explicit that community-based crime prevention (restorative justice) and long-term safety strategies (eg, employment, housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment programs) are permissible grantees for the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program.
- Promote educational, community restorative justice and employment programs that have been shown to improve community safety while creating opportunities for at-risk youth and adults, by re-allocating a portion of the funds annually given to state and local law enforcement agencies, and by tying federal grants to state adoption of statutes that redirect funds currently used for school police officers to restorative justice programs, trauma-informed counselors, and student health centers.
- Provide incentives for states to offer after-school opportunities for young people, including safe places to be at night, as well as centers for sports, dance, art, and cultural activities.
- Amend the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act to replace incarceration of youth accused of federal crimes with effective restorative justice diversion programs, which hold youth accountable and give them the tools to survive and thrive.
- Encourage independent civilian oversight boards equipped with the power to issue administrative subpoenas and impose penalties for police misconduct.
- Establish pre- and post-charge diversion programs for individuals accused of drug offenses, modeled after Seattle’s LEAD program and San Francisco’s federal court Conviction Alternatives Program, offering treatment, education, and job skills training.
- Prohibit the use of solitary confinement for juveniles held in the federal system, by passing the Maintaining dignity and Eliminating unnecessary Restrictive Confinement of Youths (MERCY) Act (S.329), and significantly reduce the use of solitary confinement and other forms of restrictive housing for adults in federal detention.
The campaign would like to thank Yoana Tchoukleva, Ismail Ali, and Gantt Galloway for their contributions to this platform.
Image credit: NYC action in solidarity with Ferguson. Mo, encouraging a boycott of Black Friday Consumerism, November 2014, by The All-Nite Images , licensed under Creative Commons