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 nearly 100,000 people in Jefferson Parish 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 local employers.
A Healthy Community Is A Safe Community
Substance abuse and mental illness are both public health concerns, leading 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 created by the Housing Authority of New Orleans in 2016, is a national model, and an essential component to advancing housing access and uniting families.
We call on elected officials to support creating housing units that are accessible to the people who live in Jefferson Parish, at prices they can afford, and 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 from 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; and 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.
Louisiana is the global leader of mass incarceration, disproportionately fueled by Jefferson and Orleans parishes. 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
Roughly 1,200 people are jailed in Jefferson Parish. The purpose of jails are (1) pretrial detention of people, presumed innocent, who pose a flight risk on serious crimes, and (2) short sentences after conviction. Although Jefferson Parish should expand social services for all residents in the areas of mental health, homelessness, addiction recovery, and rehabilitation- these issues are best addressed by experts in their fields outside of a jail setting.
We call on elected officials to support the most minimal use of the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center. 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 6,500 Jefferson Parish 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
Southern Louisiana 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, and 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 Jefferson Parish.
Community Oversight of Police, Courts, and Jails
The police department, sheriff’s department, and district attorney, 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, district attorney, and the jails.