Suffolk Green Party on Judge candidates and on Criminal Justice

Green Party of SuffolkThe Green Party of New York State has a ban on the policy of endorsing Democratic and Republican candidates, because those parties do not agree with the Green Party’s worldwide Four Pillars of Social and Economic Justice; Grassroots Democracy; Ecological Wisdom, and Nonviolence/Peace.

Democratic and Republican Party insiders have taken advantage of New York State Election law to place their candidates on the Green Party line.  New York State election law does not require these judge candidates to have the permission of the Green Party to run, nor does it require the judge candidates to inform Green Party members who sign their petitions that they are not in their party or endorsed by their party. These judge candidates are

  • Jeanmarie Costello (D-Riverhead Town Justice);
  • George Harkin (R-Family Court);
  • Matthew Hughes (R-Family Court);
  • Martha Luft (D-Family Court);
  • Gary Weber (R-Southampton town Justice);
  • William Ford (D-5th District Court);
  • John Schentino (R-5th District Court);
  • Anthony Senft (R-5th District Court); and
  • Robert Cicale (R-5th District Court).

Since there will be so many judge candidates on the Green Party line, it is encouraged to share the national Green Party’s three goals in the area of criminal  justice, which are:

  1. to reduce the prison population,
  2. invest in rehabilitation, and
  3. end the failed war on drugs.

The United States has the highest incarceration and recidivism rates of industrialized countries, while our nation’s criminal justice system in general is too often inhumane, ineffective, and prohibitively expensive. With less than five percent of the world’s population, the United States locks up nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Our law enforcement priorities place too much emphasis on drug-related and petty, non-violent crimes, and not enough on prosecution of corporate, white collar, and environmental crime. The majority of prisoners are serving terms for nonviolent, minor property and drug addiction crimes, or violations of their conditions of parole or probation, while the poor, the under-educated, and various racial and ethnic minorities are over-represented in the prison population.

The negative effects of imprisonment are far-reaching. Prisoners are isolated from their communities and often denied contact with the free world and the media. Access to educational and legal materials is in decline. Prison administrators wield total authority over their environments, diminishing procedural input from experts and censoring employee complaints.

The Green Party finds that US priorities must include efforts to prevent violent crime and address the legitimate needs of victims, while addressing the socio-economic root causes of crime and practicing policies that prevent recidivism.

The Green Party opposes oppose the increasingly widespread privatization of prisons. These prisons treat people as their product, and provide far worse service than government-run prisons. Profits in privately run prisons are derived from understaffing, which severely reduces the acceptable care of inmates. Greens believe that greater, not lesser, public input, oversight and control of prisons is the answer.

The Green Party supports an end to the “war on drugs”. The “war on drugs” is a poorly enforced program that has wasted billions of dollars misdirecting law enforcement resources away from apprehending and prosecuting violent criminals, while crowding our prisons with non-violent individuals, and disproportionately criminalizing minorities.

The Green Party also calls attention to the fact that more than forty percent of those 2.3 million locked down come from America’s black one-eighth.

The Green Party recognizes that our nation’s ostensibly colorblind systems of law enforcement and crime control, from police practices to prosecutorial prerogatives, to mandatory sentencing and zero-tolerance, have effectively constituted an ubiquitous national policy of racially selective mass incarceration; a successor to Jim Crow as a means of social control; a policy that must be publicly discussed, widely recognized, and ultimately reversed. The nearly universal, though largely unspoken nature of this policy makes piecemeal reforms not accompanied by public discussion of the larger policy ineffective outside the context of a broad social movement.

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