Criminal Justice Reform
As a civil rights lawyer and a former school teacher, I see the United States’ criminal justice system as a reflection of our democracy. The Bill of Rights lays out great aspirations: due process, the right to legal counsel, a ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the guarantee of equal protection under the law. But in practice, the system has achieved mixed results, with justice for some and oppression for others.
Here in Texas, our work is to undo the legacy of Jim Crow injustice. We have an extremely inequitable system of policing, prosecution, and incarceration, a system that is biased against poor people and people of color. The vast majority of prisoners have not been convicted of a crime – they are in jail because they cannot afford bail. We continue to arrest, prosecute and jail non-violent drug offenders, but most Texans and Americans support drug legalization. And while the jails are full of people who have committed property crimes and other non-violent offenses, we rarely if ever prosecute corporate criminals, including those who steal from working Texans and pollute our air and water.
As your next Congressperson, I will fight for a criminal justice reform agenda, including the work to:
- End cash bail
- Abolish the death penalty
- Ban private prisons
- Increase funding for public defenders
- Reduce mandatory minimum sentences and restore voting rights
- End pretrial civil asset forfeiture
- Combat the “School to Prison Pipeline”
- Hold police accountable
- End the “War on Drugs”
- Ban mass surveillance
- Prosecute corporate criminals
The Work in TX-10
The Texas 10th is a part of the national movement for criminal justice reform. A few years ago, Sandra Bland died in police custody in Waller County after an unconstitutional arrest. The movement for justice for Sandra Bland continues to inspire organizers and reformers across Texas.
On November 20, 2019, the State of Texas is preparing to execute Rodney Reed, an African-American man from Bastrop County who was convicted of murder twenty-two years ago. Rodney Reed’s case represents what Jim Crow injustice can look like: a rigged investigation, untested DNA evidence, flawed “expert” witnesses, even a confession that has not been considered by the court. Mike has joined the movement to free Rodney Reed, using his campaign to amplify this grave injustice.