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California task force recommends apologies and drug war reparations to black Americans

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The nine-member commission met for the first time in nearly two years and gave its final approval to a long list of proposals in Oakland, California over the weekend, which will now head to the governor and legislature for consideration.

the Draft final report He notes that federal and state governments had long targeted blacks for “discriminatory arrest and imprisonment,” and that the scope of this unfair policing was only exacerbated when the War on Drugs began in 1971 under the Nixon administration.

“Reparations are not only morally justifiable, but have the potential to address longstanding racial disparities and inequalities,” US Representative Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said at the meeting.

The first vote approved a detailed account of historical discrimination against blacks in California, especially examining areas such as voting, housing, education, policing, and disproportionate incarceration, among other topics.

In addition to recommendations for compensation, the task force also agreed to a public apology acknowledging the state’s responsibility for past mistakes, and promising that the state would not repeat them. The apology will be issued in the presence of people whose ancestors were enslaved.

“An apology and admission of wrongdoing by itself would not be satisfactory,” said Chris Lodgson, Coalition for Justice and Equity in California.

Members identified the impact of racially discriminatory enforcement and incarceration on drugs by integrating an analysis of the cost of time spent in prison with other collateral consequences of drug-related convictions. They assessed racial discrimination based on comparisons of the average rates of arrests, convictions, and sentences between blacks and whites who engaged in drug-related activity at similar rates and who experienced differential consequences in the criminal legal system.

The Task Force recommends that “community damages be provided as consolidated payments based on how long the eligible recipient resided in California during the period specified for the harm (eg, residency in a hyper-controlled community during the ‘War on Drugs’ from 1971 through 2020)” , according to the report.

Members also recommended that the legislature enact an “individual claims process” to compensate people who can prove “certain injuries,” such as a person who was arrested or imprisoned for a drug charge in the past, especially if the drug is now considered legal, as cannabis is found in many Countries.

Specifically, the commission concluded that the legislature must pay an estimated 1,976,911 black Californians $115,260 in 2020, reflecting a total of $2,352 per person “for each year of residence in California during the 49-year period.” years between 1971 and 2020,” or a total of $227,858,891,023 in damages to all those affected, according to Marijuana moment.

“To measure racial disparities in mass incarceration in 49 years of the War on Drugs from 1971 to 2020, task force experts estimated the disproportionate number of years spent behind bars for non-Hispanic African American drug offenders compared to non-Hispanic white drug offenders,” the report states. “Because these differences are measurable in years, experts attached a monetary value to these disproportionate years spent in prison by calculating what the average California state employee would have earned in one year.”

The report indicates that drug war It led to “a disproportionately large scale incarceration of African Americans”, which additionally contributed to unemployment and homelessness in economically depressed African American communities once imprisoned individuals were released. The commission also proposes additional compensation for health disparities and housing discrimination.

He also points to the disparity in provisions between crack and powder cocaine enacted by Congress during the Reagan administration, specifically citing it as an example of drug policy being constructed in a way that disproportionately affected black communities.

In addition, the task force made recommendations to reinstate affirmative action, abolish the death penalty, restore voting rights to formerly and currently incarcerated persons, provide free college tuition to those eligible for damages under the proposal, eliminate cash bail and provide a universal single payer. healthcare, among others.

Members will meet again on June 29 before submitting a final report to the legislature.

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