When a person is locked in jail or prison, it is often a whole family that suffers. Lost wages, even temporarily, can mean losing an apartment or home. An imprisoned parent could mean foster care for a child. And, ultimately, when the person comes back home into the community, which is almost always the case, it becomes even harder to find a job, find stable housing, and contribute to one’s family and community. The goal should always be to use jail or prison as a last resort and only when it is absolutely necessary to protect the physical safety of the community. Whenever possible, people who commit harm should be held accountable in their communities — a solution that is not only better for that person, but often for their whole family, too.
Law enforcement’s involvement with the immigration system often reproduces this dynamic, ripping apart families in lasting ways. Until this changes, we need to heavily scrutinize the use of the criminal legal system by immigration authorities.
- No sentence for an offense that does not involve the risk of serious physical harm should exceed two years.
- Stop prosecuting people for consensual sex, including sex work.
- End jail time for technical violations of community-based supervision.
- End collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE.
- Ensure that no person is forced to leave America based on a criminal arrest or conviction.