Howie Hawkins and Ramon Jimenez Call for Clemency for Nonviolent Drug Offenders and Legalization of Marijuana
(New York City) — Howie Hawkins and the Green Party are calling for clemency for nonviolent drug offenders and the legalization of drugs starting with marijuana, as part of the gubernatorial campaign's criminal justice reform platform.
“It’s time to free the prisoners of the war on drugs,” declared Green Party governor candidate Howie Hawkins as he and the party’s attorney general candidate and Bronx-based people’s lawyer Ramon Jimenez spoke in front of Manhattan Criminal Court. “Clemency for nonviolent drug offenders and legalization are two key steps towards the necessity of turning back the New Jim Crow and ending mass incarceration.”
“We need clemency for non violent drug offenders in New York State,” Hawkins said. “The misguided war on drugs is so fraught with racial bias that it has put a debilitating lifelong stigma on a large percentage of communities of color. That is why we need clemency, and expungement of these records now.”
A hugely disproportionate number of drug arrests are from the African American and Latino communities. Blacks and whites use illegal drugs at the same rates, but black men are 11 times more likely than white men to be incarcerated for a drug offense in New York State. 18% of the state population is black, but 68% of the drug admissions to prison are black. 18% of the state population is Latino, but 26% of drug admissions to prison are Latino. African-Americans and Latinos comprise over 94% of the drug offenders in New York State prisons.