By Guest Blogger, Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), Law Enforcement Action Partnership
Some of you may know me from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the only coalition of law enforcement advocating for an end to the War on Drugs. In January 2017, this wonderful organization announced our transformation into the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. Ending the drug war remains part of our core mission, but we now advance solutions to repair the whole criminal justice system, as well as advocate for a rethinking of the role of that system. We push for major policy changes like widespread sentencing reform, bail reform, and abolishing civil asset forfeiture, but until those major changes are implemented, we need to take steps to reduce harm and civilian contact with the justice system at every stage of the process. Fixing public safety issues with a sensible and solutions-oriented approach is good for crime victims and the crime rate.
Crime has been trending downward, but we can’t stop at the first sign of good news. Mass incarceration and overcriminalization have harmed generations of people in need of help, exacerbated recidivism, and ignored the needs of victims. If one of the goals of imprisonment is to deter future crimes and help victims, all evidence points to failure. Research shows more than half of violent crimes go unreported, meaning victims have so little faith in the system’s ability to serve them that they’d rather do nothing in their most critical time of need.
As always, our speakers will continue to advocate for better drug laws. We worked with state campaigns last year to legalize marijuana for adult-use in four more states. As we continue to fight for marijuana legalization, we’ll fight for better addiction treatment programs, expanded harm reduction services, and fact-based drug education.
You can learn more about the Law Enforcement Action Partnership and our five key issue areas – overincarceration and overcriminalization, police-community relations, drug policy, harm reduction, and global issues – on our new website.
Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.) is the executive director for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. He is a 34-year veteran of the Maryland and Baltimore State Police Departments.