Public Safety Comes From Community Investment
We Advocate for Jobs and Education, Not Incarceration
Unemployment is a leading root cause of crime. We need to invest in our schools, living wage jobs, and an end to discrimination against roughly 100,000 local people with criminal records.
We call on elected officials to support hiring people based on qualifications and work ethic, rather than denying them opportunities based on the stigma of their past. Elected officials should be role models for New Orleans employers.
A Healthy Community Is A Safe Community
Substance abuse and mental illness are both public health concerns that lead to numerous arrests, charges, and convictions.
We call on elected officials to support substance abuse and mental illness treatment being done by medical professionals, not police and deputies; and crisis interventions being done by highly trained and highly skilled people who de-escalate tensions and promote nonviolence among our community members.
Affordable Housing is a Human Right, Not a Handout
Affordable housing is essential for safety, and many of our community members are prevented from creating a home due to finances (even those working full-time) and/or criminal records discrimination. The public housing criminal background check policy, revised by HANO in 2016, is an essential component of advancing housing access and uniting families in New Orleans.
We call on elected officials to support creating housing units that are accessible to the people who live in New Orleans, at prices they can afford, with non-discrimination policies that reduce the negative impacts of mass incarceration.
Restorative Justice, Not Vengeance
End the School to Prison Pipeline
Over the past generation, police officers have become a regular part of school staff and school discipline has gravitated into the court system. Detention, intervention, and suspension have been replaced with expulsion and criminal charges and narrowing the possibilities for teenagers.
We call on elected officials to support separating schools and the criminal justice system, and to end disciplinary practices that resemble prisons.
In our society liberty is the norm, and detention prior to trial should be carefully limited. Yet many people who are neither a flight risk nor immediate danger are held for an excessive amount, or no bail at all. Furthermore, people who are innocent are forced into paying for programs and monitoring in order to be released. This destroys lives and fills up our local jail, while providing profits to few.
We call on elected officials to support an end to unaffordable bonds, forced programming, and prison profiteer influence.
New Orleans is the global leader of mass incarceration. This only benefits industries that profit off of our people’s pain. Sentences are excessive at all levels, while parole releases are few, with only a few minutes of attention paid to the lives involved in each plea “negotiation.”
We call on elected officials to support the creation of a Post Katrina Trauma Assessment tool, to assess impacts prior to any sentencing, to clearly inform Defendants about specific impacts a conviction will have on voting, employment, education, housing, professional licensing, and potential future criminal allegations.
No Jail Expansion
New Orleans incarcerates people accused of crimes at a record rate, double the next highest city, with no correlation to the crime rate. Police take too long to file reports, the District Attorney takes too long to file or dismiss charges, and too many people awaiting this process in jail. Over 400 people here are held at a bond too expensive to post. The average time in jail is over a month, and most people leave with charges either dismissed or a probation sentence settled, and their lives in disarray. Some New Orleans officials advocate for jail expansion to provide social services in the name of mental health, homelessness, addiction recovery, and rehabilitation.
We call on elected officials to support a 1,438 bed cap on the Orleans Justice Center jail, consistent with the City Council Resolution of 2011. No public health interventions should be used to justify mass incarceration.
Equal Participation for All Residents
Voting rights are the cornerstone of democracy, and all people in the community deserve the right to vote. America was created under the banner “No taxation without representation,” and yet 7,000 New Orleans residents are barred from the ballot box based on controversial state laws, passed four decades ago.
We call on elected officials to support the repeal of state law barring people under community supervision from voting and encourage all people to take part in the democratic process.
No Profiling Based on Race, Religion, Birthplace, or Identity
New Orleans has a beautiful cultural tradition that melds people and ideas from around the world, sharing our spirit with millions of visitors every year. But there can be no “laissez bon temps rouler” if our people are subjected to harassment, discrimination, or hate based on being labeled as the “other.”
We call on elected officials to support all government employees setting the highest example of inclusion and unity. We will not stand for policies or practices of different treatment due to the actual or perceived race, religion, birthplace, or self-identity of anyone in New Orleans.
Community Oversight of Police, Courts, and Jails
The police department and sheriff’s department, due to their intense power, require intense public supervision. The potential for abuse is unrivaled, and history teaches us valuable lessons on the need for public oversight.
We call on elected officials to support a strong and empowered community board monitoring public servants within the police, the court, and the jails.