How Ex-Prisoners Help ACLU Reform Prosecution

The American Civil Liberties Union is launching voter education and mobilization campaigns in up to two dozen cities across 10 states as part of its campaign to reduce jail and prison populations. Other advocates are also organizing around prosecutor elections, and social justice political action committees are spending big to elect reformers.

When William Roundtree got out of prison earlier this year, it took him just a few days to find a job that put his experience to work. He spent 13 years and 10 months in prison for receiving stolen property. After leaving prison, he ran into people at a light rail stop working for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. Soon, the tattooed 40-year-old was making $12 an hour knocking on doors and talking to voters at shopping centers and train stations about the upcoming primary election for Dallas County district attorney, reports KERA in Dallas.  Roundtree wasn’t pushing a candidate, but an idea: that prosecutors are incredibly powerful, and that voters could use the election to elect one committed to reducing incarceration rates and racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Roundtree is the front line of a national push to fundamentally change criminal justice,  one local prosecutor at a time. Nationwide, the ACLU is launching voter education and mobilization campaigns in up to two dozen cities across 10 states as part of its campaign to reduce jail and prison populations. Other advocates are also organizing around prosecutorial elections, and social justice political action committees are spending big to elect reformers. “We know that prosecutors at the end of the day are the ones who decide whether an individual comes into the justice system, and what that trajectory looks like,” says Miriam Krinsky of Fair and Just Prosecution, which works with reform-minded elected prosecutors.

from https://thecrimereport.org