Carson City, NV – Today, the ACLU of Nevada released a report entitled Mass Incarceration in Nevada: Bills Introduced During the 2015 Legislative Session. The report details the bills that will increase incarceration in the coming years, if they become law. The ACLU of Nevada compiled the report to show lawmakers and the public that too often, we turn to criminalization as a solution to societal problems, when alternatives that hold people accountable and still keep the public safe would be more cost effective.
"62 bills were introduced this session to criminalize Nevadans, while only a dozen bills offered 'smart on crime' alternatives that provide for restitution, drug treatment, and community service for individuals who pose no threat to public safety," noted Vanessa Spinazola, ACLU of Nevada Legislative and Advocacy Director. "Taxpayers should be concerned that creating new crimes and increasing prison sentences is frequently the first - or only - option the legislature considers, and that the return on this investment is often recidivism, broken families, and broken communities."
“In the United States, we imprison more people than any other country in the world, but using imprisonment as the preferred solution to nonviolent offenses is unjust, costly, and ineffective. Legislators can curb this trend to incarceration by passing laws that allow for restorative justice options, rather than imprisonment. Let us not subject our communities to further profiling, unfair sentencing, and discriminatory results,” said Tod Story, executive director.
Amanda Cuevas, National Association of Social Workers Policy Committee Member, added, "As a young woman impacted by Nevada's criminal justice system, I know that re-entering society is extremely difficult when your past mistakes keep you in an underclass." Ms. Cuevas created the Reno-area "Get Active" group as a way to keep our community informed about opportunities to decrease mass incarceration.
Additional quotes from partnering organizations:
"Mass Incarceration has become a stain on the hallowed pages of our constitution and a contradiction to the notion of America as the 'land of the free,' and 'home of the brave.' Now is the time to abolish and put an end to America's school-to-prison pipeline, not for the sake of our history but for the sake of our children and our future generations." Jacque Gonzales, Guiding a New Generation
“Control, hate, greed are the answers to the mass incarceration questions. This assertion is supported by the overwhelming evidence from state and the federal governments, corporations, the courts and social scientists that minorities are, in fact, the most incarcerated group, by far, in America since our beginnings.” Patricia Gallimore, President, Reno/Sparks Branch 1112 N.A.A.C.P.
The ACLU of Nevada is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to the defense and advancement of civil liberties and civil rights for all people in Nevada.