The murder of George Floyd illustrates a pattern of police brutality across the country that must be addressed. You can take action to stop this today.
Right now, Governor Parson has a crime bill on his desk that would increase disparities in our criminal justice system. The bill adds new enhanced charges, new mandatory minimums, and will lock people up for longer without truly addressing crime. We are reliving past mistakes in Missouri.
Communities of color are over-policed and targeted. In Missouri, Black drivers are 91% more likely than whites to be pulled over by police. That is profiling.
The bill would cost taxpayers $16 million per year and is estimated to increase Missouri’s prison population by 2,500, resulting in $500 million on two new prisons to be built.
Top Talking Points:
1. SB 600 is a wish-list for law enforcement that takes more power away from the people. By instituting new mandatory minimums, Missouri tells the accused the deck is stacked against you, take a plea deal, or risk a minimum of 3-5 years of your life in prison. Everyone deserves their day in court not pressure to give up before you even get to court. Nationally, 95 percent of cases end in plea deals.
2. We know that if you want to reduce crime you can’t just lock people up and throw away the key. 52,000 people from Missouri are behind bars. That isn’t stopping crime. Why would we think locking up more people would? SB 600 would lock up 2,500 more Missourians.
3. In Missouri, Black people constituted 12% of state residents, but 39% of people in jail and 34% of people in prison. One in five Black people born in 2001 is likely to be incarcerated in their lifetime, compared to one in 10 Latinx people and one in 29 white people. We are breaking up families- not fixing our communities.
4. We can agree that we want to stop crime but we must reject measures that call on more police, more prosecutors, and more jails to solve the problem. SB 600 feeds into the problem and fails to create new solutions. We will not repeat the mistakes of the past that have led to the over-policing and over-incarceration of Black and Brown Missourians. Veto SB 600.
ACLU-MO Legislative and Policy Director Sara Baker issued the following statement:
“Criminal justice reform means more than looking at past wrongs in the law and reassessing, it also means learning what did not work and charting a different path. SB 600 retries mandatory minimums and adds enhancements to existing crimes simply designed to keep people locked up longer. That doesn’t keep us safer. We know that. Data confirms that. We must adapt and confront crime with alternative policies that focus on restoration and what it takes to return people to society in a way they can thrive. We must create systems that make incarceration truly a last resort. It fractures families and burdens taxpayers to continue reviving policy mistakes. At the heart of our new policies, we must place a priority on liberty and justice – neither of which are served by measures like SB 600.”
AFP-MO State Director Jeremy Cady issued the following statement:
“Enacting a bill that doesn’t make Missourians safer and forces taxpayers to pay a half a billion dollars to pay for two new prisons is the wrong approach for our state. We should abandon the discredited tough on crime approach and follow states like Texas who have implemented smart-on-crime reforms that have resulted in the lowest crime rates since the 1960s and closed ten facilities. Vetoing this bill will be a huge step toward making our communities stronger and our criminal justice system more just and more compassionate.”
Empower-Missouri Executive Director Jeanette Mott Oxford issued the following statement:
“Decades of rigorous studies show that the mandatory minimums and stacking of sentences in Senate Bill 600 will not deter crime or reduce violence. Of equal concern is the statement in the fiscal note by the Office of the State Public Defender, a warning that they cannot provide effective representation to additional indigent persons with existing staff. Clearly this bill would repeat past failures and have unjust outcomes.”