The march toward justice continues as the Missouri Legislature kicks off its 2019 session today. Join us in the fight.

We’ve really got something going, Missouri.

During last year’s legislative session, we had some wins in making Missouri move toward smarter justice.

Legislators voted to raise the age for juveniles charged as an adult for a crime from 17 to 18. They voted to protect women by stopping the shackling pregnant inmates in Missouri Department of Corrections facilities. Our bill to end racial profiling by police in Missouri moved out of committee for the first time ever, as did the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA).

Today, the 2019 #MoLeg session begins. And we’re just getting started.

There are more than 50,000 incarcerated Missourians. In fact, Missouri is now locking up women at a faster rate than any other state in the nation. If we don’t move toward a smarter kind of justice, Missouri will have to spend billions of dollars in the next few years to build new prisons.

The ACLU of Missouri is part of an unprecedented, bipartisan effort to end mass incarceration in Missouri.

We will continue to defend the rights of all Missourians on a variety of issues.  Here’s what we’re championing this year:

  • Reducing mandatory minimum sentences. These costly and unnecessarily harsh drug-related sentences fail to curtail crime. This bill prioritizes treating people for their addictions and ending the ineffective “War on Drugs.”
  • Stopping the shackling of imprisoned, pregnant women everywhere in Missouri. We should fall in line with federal prison standards and make shackling pregnant woman before, during or after labor illegal in a county or municipal jail.
  • No more racial profiling. It’s past time for Missouri to prioritize accountable, collaborative, community-centered policing.
  • Ending cash incentives for jails and prisons. Missouri’s system of pre-trial detention has bloated our jails and punished people for being poor for too long.
  • Changing the maximum number of days a child can be suspended. Students of color in Missouri are punished more often and suspended from school for longer periods of time, increasing the likelihood they will spend their lives in and out of the criminal justice system. All students have the right to an education and due process.
  • Decreasing civil asset forfeiture. Law enforcement should not be able to confiscate your personal property by exploiting a loophole in Missouri’s law.
  • Decriminalizing HIV. HIV status is not a crime. Missouri must use public health policy, not prison time, to ensure Missourians with HIV can access treatment without being singled out and stigmatized.
  • Making MONA law.  It’s time to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act to protect the rights of our LGBTQ friends, family and neighbors.

We need you. Your elected officials need to hear from you.

Join us in Jefferson City for our annual Voices of Liberty Lobby Day on March 13. Help us defend the rights of all Missourians.

Let’s win.