Today, our communities are calling for common sense gun violence prevention and criminal justice reform to save lives and uphold our values. It’s time for bold, brave, and comprehensive solutions that keep Americans safe.
Our nation spends more than $128B¹ on incarceration and over 35,000 Americans are killed by guns each year. This is unacceptable. No parent should ever face the harrowing fear of losing a child to gun violence.² No woman should be gripped with fear that someone who has violently abused her has unchecked access to guns. No child should ever enter high school knowing their odds of landing in prison are greater than their chance of graduating. While we do the important work of protecting our communities from harm, we must reject the status quo. Today’s criminal justice and gun violence policies line the pockets of the NRA and for-profit prisons but do not do enough to save lives. By focusing on the facts, we can all work towards the shared goals of supporting our communities, protecting our neighborhoods, and creating a society that is more just, humane, and safe.
As State Representative, Juana has supported important criminal justice reform measures, like the recent landmark reform bill signed into law, which reforms Massachusetts juvenile justice system and reduces a number of mandatory minimum charges.
And Juana has led the Commonwealth’s fight against Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions’ racist immigration policies and attempts to micromanage our local and state law enforcement by championing the Safe Communities Act, which would protect immigrants, build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, and ensure our police have the resources to focus on protecting our neighborhoods. Juana worked hand in hand with law enforcement to develop this bill, which has been endorsed by both major Massachusetts law enforcement organizations.
Juana passed bipartisan legislation in the Massachusetts State house that would critically reform efforts to ensure that law enforcement acts quickly and equitably when a child in any community in the Commonwealth goes missing. Every parent in Massachusetts and across the nation deserves to have the full backing of our law enforcement when the unimaginable happens. We must listen to parent and student activists, including those from communities of color that are too often left out of conversations about gun violence and crime but disproportionately affected by these challenging issues.
Juana believes that we all have a role to play in saving lives and protecting our communities. As an attorney who has represented some of Massachusetts’ most vulnerable residents, including unaccompanied children, Juana knows first hand that equal protection under the law is a bedrock America value that we must defend from the current Administration’s constant attacks.
As Our Congresswoman, Juana will:
- Champion common-sense policies to stop gun violence and save lives, including:
- Universal background checks
- Ban assault weapons, bump stocks, and high-capacity magazines
- Close gun-show loopholes
- Mandate a minimum age of 21 for all firearms purchases
- Direct the CDC to take rapid and decisive action to conduct research on the gun violence public health crisis, and advocate for the federal funding necessary to do so.
- Advocate for restorative justice practices and trauma informed schools that disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline that traps many young people of color. As we grapple with the reality that students of color are more likely to be suspended from school than their white peers as early as pre-school³, we must strengthen our schools’ ability to support all students.
- Support strengthening critical policies that prevent those with a history of violence and abuse from purchasing weapons, grounded in the stark reality that women are killed by partners at alarming rates in the U.S. In 2015 alone, 93% of the women murdered in the United States were killed by a man they knew. Current policies only prevent domestic abusers from purchasing guns if they were married to the partner they abused, resulting in a problematic ‘boyfriend loophole’ that leaves those charged with stalking or abusing women who are friends, acquaintances or ex-partners at liberty to purchase firearms.
- Work to abolish federal mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenses that in practice discriminate against people of color.
- Advocate for bail reform that acknowledges the costly, discriminatory and excessive nature of cash bail and incentivizes states to adopt more effective risk assessment tools as an alternative.
- Fight to ban for-profit prisons and restructure government contracts so our criminal justice system prioritizes rehabilitating those convicted of a crime rather than turning profits for private prison companies. The goal of our criminal justice system must be re-entry and rehabilitation for minor offenses and clear appropriate consequences for those who pose a threat to our society.
- Encourage states to establish permanent special prosecutors’ offices or protocols that call for immediate out of jurisdiction trials in police shootings in an effort to address deep inequities and bias in the criminal justice system. Our law enforcement officers put themselves in harm’s way every day. We must provide appropriate resources to meet the needs of a demanding profession, including ongoing training and professional development that empowers community policing and affords our officers de-escalation training, anti-bias training, and racial justice training they can quickly call on in high stakes situations.
- Advocate for increased federal investments in evidence-based school safety solutions including mental health supports and school climate and trauma informed practices, and call for a commission that will conduct a full review of critical data and information sharing practices across local, state and federal agencies when threats to school safety are reported to prevent tragic mass shootings.
- Encourage federal legislation that mirrors the Safe Communities Act, a common sense approach to protecting the civil liberties of all residents and ensuring our local law enforcement agencies can use resources to address real threats to community safety and not be coerced into deputizing local officers to care out immigration enforcement.
- Champion necessary changes to America’s juvenile justice system including diversion strategies, robust case management, trauma informed practices with an emphasis on restorative justice and reconciliation and developmentally appropriate detention programs with adequate mental health services for those who pose a threat to themselves or others.
- The Hamilton Project (2017) http://www.hamiltonproject.org/papers/ten_economic_facts_about_crime_and_incarceration_in_the_united_states
- The Brady Campaign (2018) http://www.bradycampaign.org/key-gun-violence-statistics
- Quinlan, C. (2016) New Data Shows the School to Prison Pipeline Starts as Early as Preschool. Think Progress. https://thinkprogress.org/new-data-shows-the-school-to-prison-pipeline-starts-as-early-as-preschool-80fc1c3e85be/