"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
Louis D. Brandeis
Jeff will fight to restore justice to our criminal justice system.
- Jeff believes in fighting drug abuse as a treatable medical condition and not as a criminal offense. After spending more than $1 trillion nationally over the last forty years with no significant decrease in drug abuse, Jeff believes it is long past time for a new approach. Moreover, this "war" has not only failed to reduce drug abuse, it has also unfairly targeted minority communities and continues to do so to this day. Indeed, a 2017 study by the Pennsylvania ACLU concluded that -- despite roughly equal rates of usage of marijuana between blacks and whites -- blacks are over 3 times more likely to be arrested for marajuana possession than whites. It is time to abandon the tough on crime rhetoric of the past and instead look to "evidence based" methods to prevent and treat drug abuse and promote recovery.
- Jeff will fight to end cash bail. As noted by premier criminal defense and civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, “We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent.” Perhaps nowhere is this as true than with cash bail – a system that incarcerates accused, non-violent offenders not based on likelihood to commit new crimes but rather merely because they are too poor to afford bail. In Philadelphia, almost 2/3rds of our incarcerated are not yet convicted but held awaiting trial. Of those, one in every three is held simply because they “cannot afford the cash bail required for release.” Not only is this system unjust, it is also ineffective and costly. A 2017 report by the City Controller’s Office found that eliminating cash bail would save the City of Philadelphia “over $75 million annually” by relying on less costly measures such as "electronic monitoring and other methods of passive supervision” that are just as or more effective than cash bail in ensuring court appearances and reducing the likelihood of violent crime.
- Jeff will fight to end the death penalty. Jeff supports ending Pennsylvania’s wasteful experiment with the death penalty. First, new technologies like DNA testing have shown how unreliable many criminal convictions are. Indeed, research shows that for every nine people who have been executed, at least one person has been exonerated. Simply put, we cannot accept a system where we are sending so many innocent people to death row. Moreover, since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, Pennsylvania has spent more than $1 billion dollars pursuing it while only executing three individuals during that time – and then only after each voluntarily agreed to drop their remaining appeals. Given that the death penalty in Pennsylvania is so unjust, ineffective, and overly costly, Jeff believes it must be abandoned and the significant money spent in pursuit of it should be diverted to better uses that actually help keep our communities safe.
- Jeff will fight to end stop and frisk and other methods of racial profiling. Jeff believes that your race, gender, sexual orientation or zip code shouldn’t affect how much of a threat police officers determine you to be. But the studies show the opposite. Indeed, a 2017 Pennsylvania study found that “mostly black neighborhoods drew 70% more frisks than nonblack areas.” And yet despite these additional stop and frisks, the study also found these racially motivated police practices actually “yielded less contraband” than stop and frisks in non-minority neighborhoods. Simply put, stop and frisk does nothing but alienate the justice system from the communities it is supposed to protect and Jeff will fight to end it and all other forms of discriminatory policing.