By Shaun King
You have no idea how hard it was to publish what I’m about to tell you. Nobody would touch it. I’m the Writer-In-Residence at Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project, but our attorneys said I couldn’t write this there. They are right. They could get in real trouble. Ultimately I had publish it on my own. Let me explain.
Last week I announced that I was becoming a Co-Founder and lead organizer of a political action committee (PAC) focused on changing the justice system from the inside out.
Less than I want to talk about what we’ll be doing or who we’ll be endorsing, I want to explain a broader concept of why I think we need exponentially more PACs focusing on criminal justice reform.
The organization we formed, Real Justice, is one of the only national political organizations in the entire country focused on how we can change the criminal justice system from the inside out. We are particularly going to focus on making sure that your city has a district attorney that not only looks like you, because right now, out of the 2,400 DA’s in America, they are 95% white, and 81% male, just 1% women of color, and overwhelmingly conservative, we are going to make sure that we elect District Attorneys who see their primary goal as ending mass incarceration. Simply put, that’s just not what we have right now.
District Attorneys are the gatekeepers of America’s justice system and they are overwhelming focused on locking up as many people they can for as long as they can. I’m not sure anyone is more complicit in the scandal that is mass incarceration than the nation’s DA’s (read my full piece breaking this down). They are simultaneously enforcers and architects. They have broad power over the design and function and force of the justice system in every city and county in America.
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