Rep. Pressley Urges A.G. Garland to Adopt People’s Justice Guarantee as Framework to Transform Criminal Legal System, Overhaul DOJ

March 19, 2021
Press Release
“There is no way to create healing and justice without partnering closely with those who have been harmed and oppressed.”

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to consider H. Res. 266, the People’s Justice Guarantee, as a framework for embedding justice in our criminal legal system and building integrity in the Department of Justice (DOJ). The Congresswoman’s letter follows the re-introduction of her comprehensive, decarceration-focused resolution last week.

The United States of America desperately requires bold, systemic changes to our criminal legal system. A 2020 survey on public attitudes found that less than one-in-four people have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the system, and data scientists estimate that between 15 million and 26 million people took to the streets to advocate for racial justice, police accountability, and reforms to the criminal legal system.

“The diverse and multigenerational coalition calling for systemic change demands justice, and it is incumbent upon you and the entire Department to be responsive,” the Congresswoman wrote. “As you work to create a more just and equitable legal system, the People’s Justice Guarantee is a thoughtful and comprehensive guide.”

In her letter, Congresswoman Pressley noted that each of the resolution’s key principles was developed in close partnership with activists, advocates, and those most impacted by our legal system and racial injustice—and called on the Attorney General to similarly enlist these communities as valued partners throughout the decision-making process at the DOJ.

“There is no way to create healing and justice without partnering closely with those who have been harmed and oppressed,” the Congresswoman continued. “Your leadership atop the Department of Justice is critical to setting our nation on a pathway toward a more just and humane criminal legal system. The People’s Justice Guarantee outlines a vision to meet this moment, and I look forward to working with you to do so.”

Last week, in close partnership with advocates, Rep. Pressley re-introduced the People’s Justice Guarantee—a comprehensive, decarceration-focused resolution that outlines a framework for a fair, equitable and just legal system. The resolution calls for an ongoing and participatory “peoples process” that centers the dignity and expertise of those impacted by the broken carceral state. She originally introduced the resolution in November 2019.

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