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On the Issues: Criminal Justice Reform

Rehabilitation

Qasim Rashid believes that criminal justice should be built on rehabilitation, not revenge. He has invested much of his career as a lawyer towards this goal.

  • Today, Virginia spends over $29,000 a year per inmate, but only about $11,000 per student. This harms our students, strengthens a school to prison pipeline, and grows the prison industrial complex. This must change.
  • Qasim served as a Virginia state prison chaplain for four years, during which time he mentored inmates on self-reform, peaceful conflict resolution, and on how to remain as positive and productive members of society upon release.
  • Published articles written by Qasim Rashid address the racial and economic biases in our criminal justice system, including the need to abolish the private prison industry.
  • Qasim supports voter re-enfranchisement, especially for those who have served their time in prison, because a higher number of voters results in a stronger Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Qasim supports reforming the bail system. We must make sure that those who pose major safety threats cannot simply pay to walk free while those who have committed nonviolent offenses sit in jail because they don’t have the money. 
  • Companies should not be allowed to exploit prison labor. As long as there are those that benefit from workers that can be paid below minimum wage, policies that lead to mass incarceration will continue to be incentivized.

As Congressman, Qasim will work hard for the safety and security of all Virginians through a criminal justice system built on rehabilitation, reduced recidivism, and voter re-enfranchisement.

 

Decriminalizing Marijuana

After years of experimentation in several states we now know that legalization generates tax revenue, reduces crime, limits use by minors, and creates economic activity without the harms predicted by opponents. Cannabis prohibition laws target Black and Brown communities and support the for-profit prison industry. It’s time to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis use at the Federal level.

  • Legalization will reduce dependence on more dangerous drugs like opioids and alcohol.
  • Legalization will help keep cannabis out of the hands of minors.
  • The additional tax revenue will help struggling schools and pay for infrastructure repair and maintenance.
  • Creating a legal market for cannabis will shrink the black market for drugs and reduce drug crime.

Legalization of cannabis must come with broader criminal justice reform surrounding the history of prosecuting drug crimes disproportionately against Black and Brown communities.

  • Expunge any criminal records for people convicted of simple possession of cannabis.
  • Make sure no drug conviction makes people ineligible for social services of any kind.

 

Domestic Violence

Qasim believes in the indisputable truth that women’s rights are human rights. Qasim has spent his career as a human rights attorney fighting for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, which are disproportionately women. When in office Qasim will continue to fight for women, and for equality and justice for all genders.

Though domestic violence affects people of all genders including men, it disproportionately affects women. Qasim will take actions to end this epidemic such as: closing the “Boyfriend Loophole” of the Lautenberg Amendment which allows for stalkers and current or former dating partners to still buy and own a gun even if they’ve been convicted of a domestic violence crime; passing Relinquishment Laws which not only prohibit a domestic abuser from purchasing firearms, but also require abusers to turn over the guns they already own and provide proof of compliance.