IBLC announces justice reform agenda

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) held a press conference Thursday on their proposed justice reform agenda.

State Representative Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) and members of the IBLC revealed their full justice reform goals for the upcoming 2020-2021 session.

The IBLC justice reform agenda covers five pillars: saving lives, holding officers accountable, empowering communities, changing culture and improving transparency.

The caucus plans to offer legislation that would increase protester protections, fund body and dash cameras, reduce law enforcement in schools, and study racism as a public health crisis.

Shackleford said, “Our members have worked on legislative in previous sessions to erase social justice inequalities. This time around feels a bit different. This time as we present our justice reform policy agenda we know the world is paying closer attention.”

Shackelford also outlined specific demands and goals, including the following excerpts:

“All of these categories are ways we will ensure we answer the call of action by the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many more. But will also directly affect our communities by enacting systemic change that will prevent and hinder greatly any future abuse on community in the future.”

“We have a lot of work to do and we must begin by decriminalizing Jim Crow-era laws, creating an inclusive hate crime law, passing legislation that creates direct consequences in the report of false cause and claims, and establishing a study of the criminal justice system in order to full understand the impact it has had on our community past, present and future.”

“We no longer want officers in our schools, all children need care versus conviction. They need more guidance counselors and social workers to help through difficult times, and provide them the support necessary for their success.”

“In order to reach our goals of reducing jail overcrowding and decriminalizing mental illness, we need to begin creating the space for our community to actively heal and give the necessary resources to do so.”

“Reform to us is more than a ban on no knock warrants, it is more than body and dash cameras, more than the ban on chokeholds and neck restraints, which we want all of these as well. It is an active look at the hyper militarization of swat teams and the local departments who use their power against young protestors who have the right to express their concerns.”

State Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said, “We believe that law enforcement, just like other professional organizations, should be held accountable as well. We need to treat them as the professional organizations that we ask them to conduct themselves.”

“We will draft legislation to establish a confidential whistleblowing complaint process to shield officers from retaliation for sharing police misconduct information,” State Rep. Cherrish Pryor explained.

When putting this agenda together, caucus members held statewide virtual town halls to help address issues in certain communities.

The caucus also met with community groups and state leaders including Governor Holcomb.

“Our agenda is a plan, but it can also be a map and a guiding light to true and consistent change,” said Shackelford.

You can watch the full press conference in the video above and read the released agenda below.

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