STOP PROSECUTORS ABUSING RICO/CONSPIRACY LAWS & IMPOSING HARSH SENTENCING YOUNG PEOPLE.
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RICO (Racketeer and Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970) laws were initially designed to prosecute powerful organized crime syndicates like the Italian Mafia. Over the past few years, RICO has been used to excessively, to charge large groups of young people of color for unsubstantiated “gang” crimes, but in fact such charges and convictions rest on little more than “guilty by association.”
We are asking you to ACT NOW to #ReformRICO and stop prosecutors from abusing these federal laws, originally designed to take down the mob, to score easy convictions against poor communities of color. Innocent teens and young adults are often coerced into pleading guilty for conspiracy charges in order to avoid draconian mandatory sentences of up to life in prison. The overwhelming majority of those charged are never given their right to a trial. RICO laws are racially motivated tools of social control; they serve no public safety or criminal justice purpose. They tear apart families and perpetuate the enormous racial inequities we have come to expect with mass incarceration.
These are our generation's "Super Predators.”
Why is this important?
Trump's inaugural pledge for "Law and Order" is coded messaging to law enforcement agencies, both local and federal, that will empower them to ramp up their abusive, racialized policing. This will mean more arrests and more incarceration at a time when America should be moving away from needless punishment of Blacks and Latinos.
Collaboration between local police, like the NYPD, and federal law enforcement in large, military-style "gang" raids cheered on by sensationalized media reporting of these individuals as being dangerous and organized criminal enterprises is being wrongly applied—because the youth are not high level sophisticated racketeering gangsters “terrorizing” the public.
Over the past few years we have seen the emergence of a bipartisan consensus for criminal and civil justice reforms. Movements are growing across our nation urging legislators to change unfair laws that hurt families and communities of color. A wasted $80 billion a year spent on prisons actually dehumanizes inmates, many who are detained in inhuman conditions, some tortured in solitary confinement and denied visits or communication with their families.
Sign this petition, spearheaded by family members of those charged with RICO. Demand that Congress take ACTION NOW to #ReformRICO
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