Our Founder Glenn E. Martin Responds to POTUS’ Budget

February 9, 2016

February 9, 2016 (New YorkNY) – Glenn E. Martin, founder and President of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) issued the following statement in response to the President’s budget for fiscal year 2016:

“The President and his Administration are to be applauded for including in this year’s budget, funds to begin to undo the tremendous damage to communities across the US caused by mass criminalization and mass incarceration. There has been much talk on both sides of the aisle about the need to reduce the country’s overreliance on the harsh sentencing laws and long prison terms that have given the U.S. the world’s highest incarceration rate. But thus far, Congress has failed to take meaningful action. The President’s proposal to spend $5 billion over ten years to reverse course is just the sort of bold executive action that is required to turn a very big ship around.”

“The President’s budget represents a much needed systemic approach as opposed to piecemeal, incremental reforms that fail to produce real change. It would provide grants to states for the purpose of planning, implementing and evaluating progressive reforms such as alternative to incarceration programs, community-oriented policing, and reentry services for returning citizens. This represents a significant reversal of the perverse financial incentives that led to mass incarceration. In 1994 Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Violent  Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the largest crime legislation ever passed. It gave billions in grants to states that passed tough sentencing laws and billions more to expand prison capacity. For a period in the 1990s, a new prison opened every 15 days on average! Incentivizing state criminal justice policymakers to think and behave differently and reverse course is exactly what is needed today.”

“This Administration is to be commended for including formerly incarcerated advocates such as myself in a series of substantive discussions about how to create a criminal justice system that is fair, just, and effective. The budget proposal reflects that input and confirms JustLeadershipUSA’s conviction that the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Now Congress must do its job and approve bold action to end mass incarceration.”
– Glenn E. Martin, Founder and President, JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA)

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