Statement on CSG Justice Reinvestment Working Group Meeting

by schangdiaz

Thu, 12/22/2016


picture

Yesterday I watched a room full of Black and Latino demonstrators, who have been patient for the past 2 years, plead with an all-white panel of CSG working group members to say something or ask some questions about the devastating effects the criminal justice system has on their communities. The 3-hour meeting continued with polite, technical question-asking, none of which had to do with the cries for help from communities most impacted by crime.

In my eight years as a state senator, I’ve never been actually made nauseous by the handiwork of government—until yesterday. Our justice system is deeply broken, expensive, and racist, and for the last two years legislators and grassroots activists alike have been baited into believing this "Justice Reinvestment Initiative" was going to make a serious effort at fixing that. Yesterday we were placidly told “that was never part of our charge.” No one around that CSG working group table woke up yesterday thinking "How can I be an agent of injustice?" But at some point indifference becomes injustice.