War on Drugs & Prison-Industrial-Complex

It's clear that America's criminal justice system is broken. We have spent untold amounts of taxpayer money locking up millions of Americans for minor, non-violent drug offenses. This money would be better spent providing young adults with education, training, and job opportunities in order to prevent them from committing crimes in the first place. As a country, we need to be more pro-active and start implementing polices which ensure that individuals who want to contribute to society don't get stuck in the criminal justice system for non-violent drug offenses.

The disproportionate number of blacks and Latinos in the criminal justice system is a disgrace that must be addressed comprehensively. These reforms should include-- among other things-- demilitarization of the police; the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences; and increased funding for drug treatment, recovery, and job training programs.

In the state of California, we waste more money implementing a fiscally-irresponsible death penalty law-- $4 billion to date and $300 million per execution-- than we do on life sentences. Even the author of California's death penalty law, Don Hellar, has admitted that it was drafted without considering the fiscal consequences. Don Hellar is a Republican and a former prosecutor who now opposes the death penalty law which he drafted on grounds that life imprisonment (without parole) is not only more fiscally responsible, but "protects public safety better than a death sentence."

The Obama administration has already been taking steps in the right direction regarding criminal justice reform. Most recently, Obama banned for-profit prisons at the federal level and he should be commended for doing so. Allowing private companies to profit from incarceration is morally unacceptable and creates perverse incentives. Private companies are less likely to be accountable for actions which violate the Constitutional rights of prisoners or waste taxpayers’ money. I will work tirelessly to end this prison industrial complex in order to promote efficient government spending and protect the Constitutionality of our criminal justice system.

It's clear that work must be done to reform our criminal justice system both in California and at the federal level. As your congressman, I will make sure that we implement criminal justice reform in a sensible, fiscally-responsible way so that young Americans who are serious about contributing to our communities can do so without getting caught up in an expensive, counter-productive system of mass incarceration.

My opponent, Mimi Walters, supported NO on expanding services for offenders' re-entry into society (Second Chance Act; Bill HR1593). Rep. CONYERS: “Some 650,000 men and women are leaving the federal and state prisons each year. While the vast majority of the prisoners are committed to abiding by the law and becoming productive members of society, they often encounter the same pressures and temptations that they faced before prison. More than two-thirds of them are arrested for new crimes within 3 years of their release. This exacts a terrible cost in financial terms as well as in human terms. The Second Chance Act will help provide these men and women with the training, counseling and other support needed to help them obtain and hold steady jobs; to kick their drug and alcohol habits; rebuild their families; and deal with the many other challenges that they face in their efforts to successfully rejoin society.” Walters supported NO on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons (Amendment sponsored by Scott, D-VA; Bill HR 4690). She supported NO to an amendment that would reduce the funding for violent offender imprisonment by and truth-in-sentencing programs by $61 million. The measure would increase funding for Boys and Girls Clubs and drug courts by the same amount. Walters supported YES on more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime (Bill introduced by McCollum, R-FL; Bill HR 1501). This bill appropriates $1.5 billion to all of the states that want to improve their juvenile justice operations. Among other provisions this bill includes funding for development, implementation, and administration of graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders, funds for building, expanding, or renovating juvenile corrections facilities, hiring juvenile judges, probation officers, and additional prosecutors for juvenile cases. Walters is not fighting for WE the People. She is fighting for her Wall Street, and Billionaire Class campaign contributors. See which industries are Walters' largest contributors here!

Walters Voting/Support Record:

  • NO on expanding services for offenders' re-entry into society (Second Chance Act; Bill HR1593)
  • NO on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons (Amendment sponsored by Scott, D-VA; Bill HR 4690)
  • YES on more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime (Bill introduced by McCollum, R-FL; Bill HR 1501)
  • NOT standing up for WE the People

Varasteh’s Congressional Pledge:

  • “Victim-less” criminals rehabilitated not incarcerated
  • DNA testing prior to any execution
  • Marijuana & hemp legalization and taxation
  • Standing up for WE the People
  • Not for sale