Criminal Justice Reform

As a Libertarian, Shawn Johnson believes in the dignity of each individual and the equal respect everyone is entitled to. He sees our current criminal justice system as a one that tramples on this principle. Shawn sees no purpose in incarcerating those who are mentally ill, suffer from addiction issues, or those who are poor and homeless.  These are individuals who do not belong in jails and instead should be receiving the care and help they need. He also does not believe in incarcerating the millions upon millions of people that get locked up each year for non-violent, victimless offenses. Shawn recognizes that addiction can be detrimental to not only the addict but also family and friends; this is why he believes the high cost it takes to house and feed these individuals in an incarceration setting would be much better used on actual rehabilitation.  It is well known that simple incarceration is not enough to deter addiction behavior.

Shawn sees the war on drugs as an utter failure.  The population of the United States is equal to about 5% of the world population yet the United States is the leader in the number of people incarcerated holding a staggering 22% of the world’s incarcerated population most of which are non-violent drug offenders.  Despite this fact, the drug trade is still vibrant and as industrialized as ever in the United States. Shawn is tired of the justice system pursuing poor people who sell a bit of cannabis on the side to make ends meet and have their lives ended by cruel, long sentences while the rich ringleaders often walk away free men from their trials. He wants to end plea deals, as these oftentimes are taken by innocent people who are too scared or otherwise encouraged not to gamble on a courtroom trial. Plea deals are claimed to save the state millions per year in eliminating the need for a trial, but all they serve to do is pressure individuals to plead guilty. Shawn spent most of his life as an avid defender of the death penalty but has since changed his position.  After seeing the number of innocent people put to death as a result of coercive plea deals and an otherwise broken justice system whose victims are usually poor and unable to adequately defend themselves in court, Shawn advocates for an end to the death penalty. 

Shawn wants to see those who harm other people serve their sentences. Jails and prisons should be used to rehabilitate and otherwise keep society safe from dangerous individuals.