Criminal Justice Reform

  • Law enforcement

    • For decades, police protections have increased while police accountability continued to decrease. Police killed over 1,000 individuals in 2019, and 99% of these killings by police went uncharged, and black people are 3x more likely to be killed by police, and 1.3x more likely to be unarmed if killed by the police. These statistics barely scratch the surface of how corrupt and unfair our law enforcement system is. Below there is an outline of unjust police practices/protections.

      • Qualified Immunity

        • Qualified immunity is a doctrine that holds government officials, specifically police officers, to a very low standard of conduct. In practice, it shields them from being sued for violating the rights of citizens. This means that victims of police brutality can not seek justice against their abuser. 

        • Done Waiting believes that qualified immunity allows courts to forgo reviewing the facts of cases using constitutional doctrines, based on a mere claim that there may not have been a similar enough case brought to court before. Done Waiting supports immediately abolishing qualified immunity.

      • Police Unions

        • Unions protect bad cops by reinforcing a “code of silence”, which threatens officers who try to call out bad behavior. Done Waiting believes this creates a gang-like mentality among officers that prioritizes power over accountability.

        • Done Waiting supports forcing police unions to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.

        • Done Waiting supports forcing police unions to adopt positive incentives for officers to call out bad behavior when they see it. 

      • Prosecuting Police Officers

        • One reason why prosecuting police for brutality is so difficult is because prosecutors rely on police officers to gather evidence when investigating criminals. That gives prosecutors an incentive to protect officers. Additionally, it is unrealistic to believe police will be unbiased when investigating themselves. 

        • Done Waiting supports establishing independent investigations of law enforcement accused of misconduct. Done Waiting believes this can be made possible by establishing a special prosecutor’s office for each state to investigate law enforcement and hold them accountable.

      • Racial Profiling

        • 5% of illegal drug use is by African Americans, but African Americans represent 29% of drug arrests. This is not only disproportionate to the percent of the United States’ population that is black, but also to the proportion of drug users that are black. This disproportionate number shows the racial bias, profiling, and over policing that go into arrests. 

        • Done Waiting's proposed solutions to racial profiling, over-policing, and bias can be seen in the below section.

    • Defund and Demilitarize the Police

      • The defense department has a program that sends excess military equipment to police, and since this program has existed, it has sent over $7 billion in equipment to police departments all across the country. This is unacceptable. Police officers do not need equipment made for war in order to enforce laws. There is absolutely no ethical scenario where a police department would need machine guns or tanks to keep citizens safe. This is unacceptable, and Done Waiting believes this program must immediately end. 

      • In the 1990s and 2000s, funding for education, libraries, and parks have been slashed, while police departments received steady increases in funding. Throughout the country, police funding accounts for huge portions of city budgets. Funding continues to increase even though our policing system has maintained a culture of racial bias, and has helped perpetuate cycles of poverty and inequality because of disproportionate arrests and over policing. This means we must drastically change the way we enforce laws in this country.

      • We must start by defunding the police, and focus this funding into programs that help prevent crime and stop the cycle of poverty and incarceration. We will reapportion this funding into drug treatment programs, safety measures for survivors of abuse, equitable education, sustainable and affordable housing, job training programs and much more. 

      • We must also reorganize law enforcement into more specialized departments. Not every member of law enforcement should be trained in the exact same discipline. Right now, we call 911 for wellness checks on relatives, burglaries, domestic struggles, drug abuse, and so many other situations. We should not have a one-size-fit all officer show up to each of these unique situations. We need to hire social workers, health professionals, mental health professionals, and other specialized officers in order to respond to each unique situation. All of these individuals should have experience living in the community they are serving, and should come from diverse personal and professional backgrounds. 

        • These specialized officers should have anti bias training, threat assessment training, and a strong emphasis on de-escalation instead of fear-based training. It should also be required to wear body cameras 100% of the time, and the officer should have no ability to turn these cameras off. Law enforcement officers should have to be retrained after a certain period of time, and there should be rewards within departments to expose misconduct or corrupt behavior.    

  • Courts

    • Our courts system has been unequal since the founding of this country. When charged with the same exact crime, black men receive federal prison sentences that are 20% longer than white men. This shows the inherent bias in our courts. Also, since the 1980s, the federal government and states have enacted laws to pump as many individuals into the corrections system as possible. Done Waiting supports abolishing the following laws and practices to attempt to make our courts and sentencing more fair, as well as stop mass incarceration at its root.  

      • End the practice of civil asset forfeiture, which is one where law enforcement can take assets from individuals who are suspected of a crime, even if they have not been charged.

      • End mandatory minimums because every single scenario should be evaluated by a judge, and there should not be a single punishment for so many different situations. This causes stricter sentencing in situations that might not necessarily need a strict sentence, and renders a judge powerless to override these strict sentences. Done Waiting also supports ending stand your ground laws, unequal drug characterizations (crack vs powder cocaine sentencing differences), and ending three strikes laws. Every single one of these practices was created with the intent to imprison as many people as possible -- war on drugs legislation must go. Furthermore, lobbying organizations such as ALEC have helped reproduce laws like this all across state legislatures. Done Waiting believes we must get all lobbying and money out of politics because this only causes the most wealthy and powerful to have an influence on our political system. This is unethical.  

      • We must immediately eliminate cash bail. This is an inherently classist practice. 

      • In 2016, about 19% of individuals entering the prison system were there for violating parole. Things like missing appointments, failing a drug test, or remaining unemployed. Our parole system is supposed to help those coming out of prison adjust back into society, or ensure that those who have offended do not reoffend in the same way. However, what our parole system really does is put newly-free individuals under a microscope, and continues punishing them after they have already served their sentence. Done Waiting does believe that we need some government-sponsored program to help formerly incarcerated people find jobs, housing, stay sober, and find support. However, our parole system needs to be completely reformed to provide formerly incarcerated people support instead of aimed at returning these individuals to jail. We will never shrink our prison population if we are jailing people for missing appointments. Our parole system should be built to help people succeed and adjust, not be built to reincarcerate folks. Done Waiting will vote for legislation that attempts to move our probation system from one away from punishment towards rehabilitation and support. 

      • Done Waiting believes that the federal government must immediately abolish the death penalty. Our courts system obviously makes mistakes, and even one individual who is wrongfully executed is too many. Furthermore, it actually costs more to put an individual through death row than it does for life in prison. 

      • Done Waiting believes the federal government immediately legalize marijuana, exonerate all of those who are still in jail on marijuana convictions, as well as ensure that marijuana licenses are not exorbitantly expensive, and ensure that big corporations can not monopolize the industry.

      • We know that less than 1% of rapes committed end in a felony conviction, and we also know that rape goes vastly underreported, especially when talking about people of color and non-binary people. We also know that the majority of rapists will repeatedly offend. Since such a large percentage of rapes go un-prosecuted, uncharged, and un-convicted, this causes survivors of sexual abuse to have distrust in our justice system, or be concerned about re-traumatization in the cross-examination or criminal process. When an individual reports a sexual assault or rape, Done Waiting believes that specific officers who have been trained in trauma and PTSD must handle these cases. 

  • Corrections

    • We have acknowledged that our courts and policing systems target black people, non-black POC, and low income people. These disproportionate sentences and arrests lead to a disproportionate number of black and poor individuals in our incarceration system. We must ensure that our corrections process focuses largely on rehabilitation, and also is humane and just. Done Waiting does not believe that any corporation should benefit from the corrections system because this only breeds corruption, mass incarceration, as well as inhumane treatment. 

    • Private prisons and the Prison Industrial Complex 

      • Private prisons make up a small portion of the total prison system, yet the private prison lobbyists have massive influence. Between 2000 and 2016, the private prison population (across both state and federal) increased by 47%. Done Waiting believes we must immediately abolish all private prisons, and prohibit any corporation to profit off of incarcerated individuals because this will only increase incentive to incarcerate more people.

      • Currently, health care, food production, prison labor, and other practices within our corrections system are contracted out to private companies. This means that health care companies and food production companies are profiting off of incarcerated people. Since food and health standards are low, these companies can provide substandard care for high prices. This privatization also incentivizes increased incarceration. Done Waiting believes that all of these services should not be privatized but instead provided by our government. This way we can ensure a certain standard and price. This will allow for better conditions and care for incarcerated people. 

    • Practices Within Our Correctional System

      • Done Waiting supports immediately ending the death penalty, solitary confinement, and any forms of torture. Done Waiting supports immediately closing Guantanamo Bay. Solitary confinement and torture have been proven to be wasteful, pointless, and cruel.

    • Rehabilitation, Restorative Justice and Lowering Recidivism

      • Done Waiting believes that we should move away from our current punitive model of corrections and move towards a more rehabilitative model of corrections that focuses on reintegrating individuals that were previously convicted. This model has shown to be more effective. 

      • Done Waiting believes that restorative justice programs should be explored and implemented, and he will support any legislation that attempts to do so. 

      • Done Waiting also believes that education systems, including universities, vocational schools and high schools, should be available to all incarcerated people while they are in prison. Done Waiting believes this will help decrease recidivism rates and encourage upward mobility and change behavior in people once they get out of prison.