As the Senate prepares to take up changes to federal sentencing and parole guidelines, some Republicans and Democrats break from their parties' traditional stances.
For decades the Republican Party prided itself for being tough on crime, often putting Democrats on the defensive by pushing for longer, mandatory sentences for convicts.
Now that the ballots have been counted and the citizens of the commonwealth have spoken, we need Gov.-elect McAuliffe and our elected officials to focus on revamping our criminal justice system. Moving forward, efforts must be made to make the system more effective, less costly, and fairer — restoring faith in the system so that it can work for all Virginians.
The federal government has subsidized the criminalization of millions of young people simply for having a small amount of pot. “Whites Smoke Pot, but Blacks Are Arrested.” That was the headline of a column by Jim Dwyer, the great Metro desk reporter for The New York Times, in December 2009.
The United States houses 25% of the world's inmates despite having only 5% of the world's population. This fact prompted former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia to say, "Either we have the most evil people on earth living in the U.S., or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice." The prison industrial complex has a vested interest in keeping people locked up.
Mark Pocan has spent the last 13 years in the Wisconsin State Assembly representing one of the strongest progressive districts in the state. Yet his political roots took hold in blue-collar Kenosha, Wisconsin where he got his start at age eight delivering campaign literature door-to-door for his father, a long-time city alderman.
Pocan learned about ALEC in the only way he could — he joined — making him one of its few Democratic members. Once inside he saw firsthand how it operates and then, much to the organization’s displeasure, he let us in on its goals and strategies.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Wisconsin state Rep. Mark Pocan has been to several Democratic Party national conventions, but none as important for him as this one. Pocan is poised to succeed U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is giving up her seat to run for the Senate. Although he faces Republican challenger Chad Lee in the fall election, an upset is highly unlikely -- Lee is vastly underfunded in the overwhelmingly liberal district.
State Rep. Mark Pocan has, since his election to the state Legislature in 1998, been a leader in the fight to educate and engage citizens with the struggle over the failed "free trade" consensus. While trade agreements are negotiated -- usually in secret -- by presidential administrations and voted on by Congress, there are highly significant consequences for states.
WI-2 Mark Pocanwww.pocanforcongress.com/