Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal justice reform is becoming hot topic for 2020 election

Immigration, the environment, the economy, the growing national deficit, Social Security and health care are all hot topics for the 2020 presidential contenders to address. Now, however, they need to turn to one more. Criminal justice reforms that need to take place nationally in order to create a genuinely fair system for all.

One of the biggest topics to hit the national spotlight is the proposal to end the cash-bail system (or, at the very least, severely restrict it). In 2017, nearly two-thirds of the people sitting in county and city jails were prisoners who had yet to be convicted of crimes. The vast majority were stuck there simply because they simply were too poor to afford the bail needed to go home and continue their lives while they awaited trial.

Other proposals for reducing the prison population across the nation include decriminalizing marijuana (or outright legalizing it across the nation). This would go hand-in-hand with the federal reform program known as the First Step Act. The First Step Act aims to begin reducing some of the harsh -- and useless -- penalties that were pushed during the "drug wars" of the 1980s and 1990s.

Other initiatives have included focusing on treatment for drug addiction and mental health conditions -- two issues that are closely intertwined in many drug crime cases. By focusing on treating the source of the need for self-medication, it may be possible to eliminate much of the drug problem in general.

Keep watching to see what changes are being proposed. Given the serious consequences of drug charges and other crimes, even for first-time offenders, this could turn into an important debate for the future.

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