Memphis Council Candidate Questionnaire: District 7 Answers

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1. If elected or re-elected to the city council, will you propose programs and/or initiatives to limit the number of arrests for minor offenses in the city?

BOYD: DID NOT RESPOND

EASTER-THOMAS:

Yes

I plan to introduce an ordinance to decriminalize marijuana in the City of Memphis. I also support ending money bail.

GREEN-COLE: DID NOT RESPOND

HASSANN: DID NOT RESPOND

PRICE:

Yes

Far to often we see our jail cells full of people who have comitted non-violent offence; example: small possesstions of marijuana. Arrest such as these fill our jails and cost tax payers millions of dollars each year. We need to reform how we handle these small, non-violent offences that will cost tax payers less money and keep these offenders out of our jails. Our platform at www.jerredprice.com talks about criminal justice reform on this subject as well.

RICHARDSON:

Yes

We must first draw a line and stand firm on which offenses will be considered minor. Once that is established,though these offenses will not warrant arrest they will have repercussions. Fines or community service should replace incarceration in these cases. This will free up our officers and prosecutors to focus on more serious crimes.

C. SMITH:

I will do my research to find out why many of the minor offences are being committed and try to combat that underlying cause(s) for those who are making those bad choices. Once I find out the cause(s), I will find resources that are available to assist them so that they can live a productive life. Then, I will educate them on what it means to have a criminal record even if the offences are minor so that they can become more aware of their bad decisions. Lastly, if there are no programs and/or initiatives set in place, I will make a proposal to specifically address those areas.

T. SMITH:

Yes

Yes. As an educator, professional counselor, and long time advocate for criminal justice reform, I have witnessed firsthand the debilitating impact and adverse effects minor law infractions have upon individuals, communities, and society as a whole. This is especially the case when such offenses require cash bail, as opposed to release under personal recognizance.

SPRINGFIELD: DID NOT RESPOND

2. If elected or re-elected to the city council, will you support a pre-booking diversion program for drug-related offenses and for those suffering from mental health issues?

BOYD: DID NOT RESPOND

EASTER-THOMAS:

Yes

I support funding mental and health programs that aid citizens who are in need of these services before, during, and after offenses are recorded. I will push for accessible facilities in the inner-city areas, as well as reliable transportation for citizens to effectively utilize these services.

GREEN-COLE: DID NOT RESPOND

HASSANN: DID NOT RESPOND

PRICE:

Yes

I think that most drug-related offences are often due to the mental health and well being of the indiviual. Mental heath and stability is a national crisis amongst drug users. Jail is not the way to correct this crisis. Investing in mental health and alternate paths for offenders is the cure/fix to many of these circumstances. I would like to work with our justice system, homeless shelters, and non-profits who help homless who are also drug users to get to the root cause of their drug addiction/use and turn their lives around by investing more city monies toward mental health and well-being.

RICHARDSON:

Yes

People with mental illness and drug addiction don’t need incarceration they need help. We must not only educate the individual but the community on the supports available. Arresting of this vulnerable population not only cost taxpayers money but it leaves a blemish on the individual that remains in their future. Arrest can prevent an individual from receiving jobs and housing. This in many cases leads to further addiction. We must educate the citizens on ways to identify illness and addiction and the supports that are available. We must retrain our Law Enforcement Agencies on sensitively ,ethics, identification, and cultural understanding. I will be at the forefront to ensure that this happens.

C. SMITH:

Yes

Prisons should not be filled nor overcrowded with drug related issues committed by non-violent offenders. There is a distinct difference from those who are selling drugs and those who are distributing them, so those who are distributing them should receive fair jail time for breaking the law.

However, many who are drug abusers should be treated to detox themselves from this destructive behavior and habit. Studies show that many drug users are mentally ill and are depressed, so they are trying to medicate themselves to ease and mean the pain. Thus, having pre-booking diversion programs can help those who need and want that extra help instead of being swept into the criminal justice system.

T. SMITH:

Yes

Having worked in the mental health and substance abuse treatment professions for over 20 years, I have seen the positive outcomes that pre-booking diversion and similar behavioral interventions programs have on individuals and communities. Substance abuse and mental health conditions are matters of public health. Although, each may impact public safety in some manner, those individuals that have been identified as having a mental health and/or substance abuse diagnosis should be referred to treatment.

SPRINGFIELD: DID NOT RESPOND

3. If elected or re-elected to the city council, will you support a policy to require transparency and democratic accountability before city agencies acquire new surveillance tools?

BOYD: DID NOT RESPOND

EASTER-THOMAS:

Yes

GREEN-COLE: DID NOT RESPOND

HASSANN: DID NOT RESPOND

PRICE:

Yes

RICHARDSON:

Yes

C. SMITH:

Yes

T. SMITH:

Yes

SPRINGFIELD: DID NOT RESPOND

4. If elected or re-elected to the city council will you work to make stop and arrest data, including race and ethnicity data, available to the public quarterly?

BOYD: DID NOT RESPOND

EASTER-THOMAS:

Yes

GREEN-COLE: DID NOT RESPOND

HASSANN: DID NOT RESPOND

PRICE:

Yes

RICHARDSON:

Yes

C. SMITH:

Yes

T. SMITH:

Yes

SPRINGFIELD: DID NOT RESPOND

5. If elected or re-elected to the city council what will you do to ensure a timely, transparent and independent investigation whenever an officer uses deadly force?

BOYD: DID NOT RESPOND

EASTER-THOMAS:

Reinstating the use and inclusion of CLERB, as well as issuing timely reports to the public.

GREEN-COLE: DID NOT RESPOND

HASSANN: DID NOT RESPOND

PRICE:

As a council member, I would encourage my colegues to work closely with the department and ask for all approportiate evidence to support why this force was used. If data is “lost” or “inadequte”, hearings should be held with the department/mayor/council in partnership/assitance with TBI. When the loss of life is involved, we must ensure that it was an ABSOLUTE last resort and that the officer or others lives were in danger.

RICHARDSON:

This is a must if we plan to bridge the gap between Cop and Community. We must develop policy that will clearly state the timeframe an investigation must be completed. We must also entertain the idea of outsourcing non biased organizations that can fully conduct investigations successfully.

C. SMITH:

I will see what the protocols are first and see what the standards are and the process it takes to get a timely and transparent investigation and to see what can be done to expedite the process. Then, I will propose an ordinance to make sure that once all of the investigation is done, it will be released.

I will also put pressure on the police and prosecutor to expedite the process and build a relationship with them.

T. SMITH:

If elected to Memphis City Council I will establish the following:

1. Propose an ordinance which supports timely, transparent, and independent investigations
during instances where deadly force applies.

2. I will actively support the citizens law enforcement review board (CLERB)

3. I will also support counseling and other health related programs for local law enforcement.

SPRINGFIELD: DID NOT RESPOND

6. Name 3 steps you would take as a council member to make the Community Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) more effective.

BOYD: DID NOT RESPOND

EASTER-THOMAS:

1. Review ordinance that allows for the existence and mandated use of CLERB. Being attentive to any clauses that may allow municipal government to refuse their services.
2. Advocating for revision of CLERB ordinance, and creating, with the council, new standards of qualifications and recruitment.
3. Recruiting new CLERB members, while appointing Council member to assist in their success and attend meetings and hearings.

GREEN-COLE: DID NOT RESPOND

HASSANN: DID NOT RESPOND

PRICE:

1. As a council member, I would ask CLERB to meet once a month with the community development corportations/ in my district. I would connect the community with this board and share ideas, concerns, and thoughts. I would also ensure follow up with CLERB on items brought to the forefront by the citizens to ensure action is being taken. As of now, council members are not playing a large enough roll in being the voice and working with CLERB and the citizens they represent.
2. I would bring non-profits who work for justice reform and civil rights to the table to meet with CLERB to see how we can the non-profits missions/goals can be better implemented with the help and feedback of CLERB.
3. I would ensure that information provided to CLERB is accurate and without bias. I would ensure that any questions CLERB has regarding a concern are heard loud and clear.

RICHARDSON:

1. We need a few younger people on the board. People who fall within the demographic and statistical data that these allegations occur.

2. Revise and clearly the line of authority that CLERB has.

3. Hold the City Council accountable to support CLERB on their recommendations.

C. SMITH:

1. Currently, the board here in Memphis meets every 2nd Thursday of every other month, and I will increase the number of meetings to make sure all of the complaints are addressed.
2. I will make the board more diverse by including a younger generation.
3. For those who want to file a complaint online anonymously, they should have that option.

T. SMITH:

1. Include either monthly or bi-monthly formal appearances of the citizens law enforcement
review board (CLERB) before the Memphis City Council.

2. Ensure a permanent “line item status report” of CLERB is placed on the Council’s Business
Agenda.

3. Ensure that members of the CLERB receive both comprehensive and evidence-based
training as it pertains to law enforcement administration and in the trends in police misconduct

SPRINGFIELD: DID NOT RESPOND

7. Would you support policies, programs or initiatives to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline?

BOYD: DID NOT RESPOND

EASTER-THOMAS:

As a secondary educator, I experience first hand the lack of resources mandated to City students, the lack of post-secondary opportunities, and the lack of support and love shown to students by all of the school community.
I support the inclusion of technical paths as career options. I support school-community partnerships that offer intern experiences and teenage employment. I support school break initiatives that provide employment for older students and learning intervention for younger students. I support the recruitment of quality teachers and administrators to serve in our city schools, and the adequate provision of raising teacher salary and benefits.

GREEN-COLE: DID NOT RESPOND

HASSANN: DID NOT RESPOND

PRICE:

Yes

Education and opportunity are key to keeping our children on a successful path in life. Not only do I ask for people’s support during this campaign, I also educate, meet, and learn about as many non-profits and their programs to help inform an assist those Im asking for support from – one must give back as much or more than they ask for. I want to be a resource for our community to help invidiuals who need help. By knowing about programs and non-profit, I can refer indiviuals to them and help ensure they have the assistance and guidance they desire or need. So many organizations are looking and yearning for outreach to those who need them most. I want to be the bridge between them.

RICHARDSON:

Yes

We must ask the question, are we providing our youth with options other than college to be successful in society? Currently the answer is no more than ever do we need to revisit votech training to give the youth the skills and trades to be productive members of society.

C. SMITH:

I will find out what policies and programs that are in place that are effective to ensure that the school-to-prison pipeline is totally and completely dismantled. Some of the problems that I see that is aiding this system is a home issue whether it is the environment, violence, or economics that play a part in this practice that cause students to make bad choices.

To combat some of these issues, I will have speakers to speak to the youth and the parents to talk to them to show them other options for different productive lifestyle choices. Therefore, I will reach out to individuals who specializes in counseling, workforce development, and schooling that can address some of these issues.

T. SMITH:

Yes

My current policy platform calls for the placement of behavioral counselors, social workers, and other trained interventionists at city-wide community centers. To fund this initiative, I’d recommend using confiscated drug money and/or crime related property seizures to fund these full-time employees (FTEE’s), and/or pursue supplemental funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Education (DOE), and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs (OJJDP).

SPRINGFIELD: DID NOT RESPOND

8. What does criminal justice reform mean to you?

BOYD: DID NOT RESPOND

EASTER-THOMAS:

Criminal Justice Reform means to change the way we see community, government, and crime. CRJ includes supporting re-entry programs and expungement, but it also includes providing proactive services so that we can avoid creating a growing population of “felons and criminals.” CRJ means holding law enforcement, government, and the community accountable for promoting ethical approaches to safety and transparent disclosures of investigations that can guide us towards the workings of a better city.

GREEN-COLE: DID NOT RESPOND

HASSANN: DID NOT RESPOND

PRICE:

Criminal justice reform means ensuring we are doing all we can as a city for a fair & level justice system. As our city turns 200 years old this year, we need fresh new ideas and a new approach toward connecting the citizens we represent and the justice system that is suppose to protect and serve. Ensuring transparancy is a major item for me. But also, ensuring this system works better to help those trying to better themselves. Why do we make it so hard for someone to get back on their feet after they have served their time? America’s criminal justice system isn’t known for rehabilitation. But I think it should be and I want to work as hard as I can toward that goal.

RICHARDSON:

Criminal Justice reform means developing a system that is fair and equitable in it’s operations to all parties involved. Dignity and humanity must be the cornerstone of this revised system. It also means continuously working to lessen the population of incarcerated and jailed citizens.

C. SMITH:

Criminal justice reform means that the entire criminal justice system needs to be totally dismantled and rebuilt because its roots have ties dating back to the 1800s to keep underprivileged and disadvantaged under control and as second-class citizens.

Some of the people who are part of the criminal justice system such as prosecutors, officers, and alike who are making decisions about punishment should be vetted because many are being hired with preconceived notion about the difference of the citizens in the impoverished communities and affluent communities.

T. SMITH:

When examining criminal justice reform, the following principles come to mind:

1. Removing sentencing disparities between powder and crack/cocaine.

2. Establish and promote more diversion and treatment for “nonviolent” drug offenses

3. Decriminalize marijuana

4. Dismantle the “cash bail” system

5. Eliminate the use of public funds for private penal institutions (both juvenile and adult)

SPRINGFIELD: DID NOT RESPOND

2019-09-12T16:43:58+00:00 September 11th, 2019|Categories: General News|Tags: |