She might hurt me later for saying this, but listen to @JenniferRothKS talking about criminal legal reform right now, right here: https://www.klwn.com/
"You see people convicted of the same thing over and over. You see people get these harsh sentences. You can advocate for them and try to argue legal errors, but at the end of the day [there are things] I can't change, unless I can get someone at the statehouse to change it."
"The numbers [in the sentencing grid boxes] have no basis in science or research. They're arbitrary." Mental health, racial inequities, lack of resources and over-policing can impact where people fall by impacting criminal history.
For example ( @JenniferRothKS says) in some places you have to be able to pay costs and fees to get a diversion. If you don't have money, you now have a conviction. If you have money, you can get out of the conviction.
"When we are working on reform we need to really think, 'What does it mean when people say public safety?' We need to rethink...who needs to go to prison, who doesn't need to go to prison...." and ultimately reform our sentencing guidelines.
"We have research that tells us that treatment and programs in the community keep us safer than locking people up."
Even for people on probation and parole "we need to think about what we're asking people to comply with." There are conditions we ask people to meet that no one could possibly comply with.
On registration: "I do not think the public realizes the extent of how we make people register and what for and for how long and what happens to them if they can't. We have judges and lawyers who don't understand [registration] yet we ask people to comply or have a felony."
Registration is "not punishment" but if you don't register, you can end up with a prison sentence that is longer than the sentence for the crime you have to register for.
. @JenniferRothKS also says that registration makes it hard for people to get and keep jobs, do other "pro-social" things to help them be good members of society. Again, what do we mean when we say "public safety"?
"Public safety" doesn't just mean funding the police. It means funding public services, funding the public defender, etc.
On how we help fix this: "Ordinary people can go to the statehouse and testify about bills....We have a criminal justice reform commission...." Contacting your legislator about bills is good, but getting involved before there is a bill is even more effective. Contact those folks!