BLM cofounder Patrice Cullors has requested a meeting with Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) to ask them to help pass the BREATHE Act in the first 100 days of the new administration, FOX News reports.
The BREATHE Act is designed to eliminate all federal prisons within ten years. All inmates would be released, and construction on all planned future incarceration facilities would be immediately halted.
The proposed federal law calls for decriminalizing several gang-related and juvenile offenses and eliminating some laws governing prostitution. It would also remove criminal penalties for failure to pay child support. The proposed law would eliminate mandatory minimum prison sentences and three-strike rules, and it would raise the age of criminal liability to 24 years. The proposal would also end life sentences and death sentences and eliminate youth convictions entirely.
“In addition, the BREATHE Act would create a commission to study [race] reparations, give voting rights to undocumented immigrants, decriminalize all drug offenses, end cooperation with immigration authorities, pilot programs for universal basic income, among other sweeping changes,” reports FOX News.
Rep. Rashida Talib (D-MI) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) introduced the BREATHE Act. Biden has yet to express his views on the topic. Cullors called Talib and Pressley “champions” of the BREATHE Act in an opinion piece for Teen Vogue.
The home page of Pressley’s website refers to prisoners as “our neighbors behind the walls.” Several press releases posted to Pressley’s website indicate her support for expanded privileges for the incarcerated, including fighting for payments from the COVID relief bill to include inmates.
Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) also supports prison abolition and has tweeted often about need to reduce incarceration, the Daily Wire reports.
To those who might be concerned about violent criminals being released into the community Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet, “Our lawmaking process means we come to solutions together, and either way we should work to an end where our prison system is dramatically smaller than it is today.”
Prison abolitionists favor elimination of prisons and jails and want extensive reform of the law enforcement and criminal justice systems, The Marshall Project reports. The abolitionist movement generally advocates what they call local solutions to justice issues and reduction of police and prison funding in favor of much greater government spending on housing, education, jobs, and health care for demographic groups most likely to commit crimes.
Gina Dent, an associate professor of feminist studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz has been working on prison abolition for 25 years, reports the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
“Abolitionists are focused on getting us to a world where we do not have prisons,” Dent told the paper. “And the reason we do not have prisons is because we no longer need prisons. And in order not to need prisons, we have to resolve all of the social problems that the prison purports to solve.”
“The radical experiment is coming,” writes Tim Graham at FOX News. “Cities will send social workers instead of police officers to deal with domestic violence complaints and drug overdoses. Will unarmed social workers be harmed in these volatile situations? Will they wish they had an armed cop backing them up?”
The BREATHE Act will put the public in the hands of criminals, says attorney Luis Robles.
“Without the ability to police society and incarcerate those who commit crimes, government can no longer enforce the rule of law,” Robles told Budget and Tax News. “Instead, there will be citizens who follow the law because that is the right thing to do and there will be citizens who will violate the law because there is no one, and nothing, to stop them.
“The BREATHE Act will abolish the rule of law,” Robles said.