Sen. Kamala Harris may still face questions over her past report on criminal justice, however in a look Wednesday, she sought to cognizance squarely on future reforms, committing to pardoning low-degree drug offenders if she turns into the president. “Absolutely,” she stated when requested whether or not she’d use presidential pardon powers to launch federal prisoners convicted of drug possession and drug-associated crimes. “We ought to have the courage to apprehend that there are loads of folks who have been incarcerated who must not have been incarcerated and are nonetheless in jail due to the fact they had been convicted beneath draconian legal guidelines that have incarcerated them … for what is basically a public fitness problem.”
During her feedback at a She the People town corridor, Harris additionally condemned the battle on tablets and reiterated her help for legalizing marijuana. “There is the wider point about the failed battle on capsules,” she said. “There is no query it changed into a failure, and a part of the trouble is that what becomes a public fitness problem essentially has become a criminal justice problem.” Harris referred to that whilst the opioid epidemic is now being treated as a public fitness problem, the identical can’t be stated for the crack epidemic. “Now, happily, a few have developed across the opioid difficulty. But look, wherein were they when we had what became known as the crack epidemic?” she requested.
Several of the factors Harris raised are addressed in her latest ebook, The Truths We Hold, wherein she encouraged the stop of the war on drugs and emphasized her aid for regulations legalizing marijuana.
Critics, however, note that those positions aren’t entirely constant with ones Harris held previously. For instance, as Tom Angell writes for Forbes, Harris laughed when asked approximately another candidate’s assist for legalizing marijuana in 2014. She additionally did not return a California measure in 2010 that could have modified state law in favor of marijuana legalization.
The broader conversation approximately marijuana legalization has shifted significantly in current years, and Harris’s personal viewpoints on the concern seem to have developed with it. As Vox’s German Lopez writes, Harris’s record as AG and San Francisco district legal professional has additionally garnered complaint because it’s far full of apparent contradictions. In a few times, Harris served to keep the reputation quo, Lopez notes, at the same time as she’s framed herself as a person who sought to champion reforms and changed the system from within.
One such sticking point is an anti-truancy program she labored on, which critics say disproportionately focused low-earnings families and levied hefty burdens on individuals already seeking to make ends meet. Harris has said that this application changed into supposed to scale back high school dropout costs and assist steer students far away from crime.