Last month, California congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris introduced the Ensuring Quality Access to Legal Defense (EQUAL Defense) Act. If passed, the bill would create a $250 million grant program aiming to establish workload limits for public defenders and pay parity between public defenders and prosecutors. The bill would also authorize $5 million to provide training to public defenders.
Disclaimer: Possible sensitive material. The author discusses the nature of human trafficking situations and means of control.
During my undergraduate years, I embodied the enthusiastic student suddenly emboldened by the idea that I could do something to change the world. When at a campus event, I was shown a video that detailed the (fictional) story of a young woman from Eastern Europe who was kidnapped and brought to the United States for forced work in the sex industry. The woman was moved around the country and was locked in various homes, hidden away from everyone except for her captors and clients. She only managed a dramatic escape by breaking free of her chains and running towards good citizens for help. Like most Americans, this was my introduction to the issue of human trafficking.
Marijuana decriminalization and legalization is not a new issue. In one way or another, policy makers have been grappling with it since the 1970s. With election politics starting to heat up in the run-up to the 2020 presidential elections, the issue is again being thrust into the spotlight. The vast majority of democratic candidates have taken positions and proposed policies that – to differing degrees – seek to reform the way the US criminal justice system sanctions recreational marijuana use.