The suffering of millions at the hands of our unjust criminal legal system is one of the most pressing civil rights crises of our time. The U.S. is the leading incarcerator in the world. JCPA believes that we must reorient our society toward a preventive, rehabilitative, and restorative justice approach to public safety that respects and protects the humanity of all people. Our highest priority is ending mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people and communities of color.
JCPA believes that reimagining public safety and the role of policing is essential to creating a just society. Police are currently called up on respond social ills outside of what most would consider crime, situations related to homelessness, drug addiction, domestic disputes, school discipline, and mental illness. We must reframe our understanding of what makes communities safer and more equitable. More police officers and more prisons do not address the root causes of crime in communities. It requires investing in non-carceral programs and social services, including education, housing, employment, health care, and other public benefits.
JCPA is working with partners across Black communities to transform law enforcement practices and structures and invest in community well-being. Police violence, lack of accountability, and systemic racism existed long before police killed George Floyd and will continue to persist unless we reimagine public safety and follow through on real, structural change to our policing systems and our conception of public safety. JCPA is advocating for police reform measures, such as those in the House-passed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which sets a floor for improving practices and policies regarding use of force, police accountability, racial profiling, militarization, data collection, qualified immunity, and training.
We are also working with our civil and human rights partners to secure meaningful, retroactive sentencing reform and provide greater support for rehabilitation and reentry, particularly by lifting any ban on access to social services and housing.
Our Jewish commitment to empathy, mercy, and restorative justice demand that we join in solidarity to transform our criminal justice system, end systemic racism, and ensure universal access to a life lived in dignity.