Reverend Warnock believes that in the Land of the Free, it is a scandal and a scar on the soul of America to imprison more people at a higher rate than any other country in the world. With our country containing only 5 percent of the world’s population while warehousing nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, real and immediate change is needed.
The prison population of America is fed by a system that criminalizes poverty, imperils the bodies of its most vulnerable citizens, and incarcerates people of color at disproportionate levels. Reverend Warnock sees this issue as a spiritual problem, with the soul of America itself endangered by mass incarceration. Only by living up to the twin American promises of liberty for all and equal protection under the law can our nation begin to heal.
Reverend Warnock also believes that it is morally wrong and economically backward to close the doors of social re-entry on the formerly incarcerated. That’s why he has worked with Fulton County officials to expunge arrest records for those arrested but not convicted of a crime. He understands that arrests, even for minor infractions, can devastate generations of Georgians when parents and children are stripped of their potential for upward social mobility. Reverend Warnock believes that people who have paid their debt to society in prison can continue to make contributions to their communities after they have served their time.
In his ministry, Reverend Warnock has spoken about the dangers of mandatory minimums, the lack of effective rehabilitative programs, and the thousands of Georgians who are in jail, not because they have been convicted of a crime or are a danger to society, but because they can’t afford bail. And as someone whose own family has faced the pain of seeing a loved one incarcerated, Reverend Warnock understands that behind each statistic is a family broken by a failed justice system. As a Senator, he will fight to move the nation toward justice and away from the harmful, ineffective, and costly policies that have devastated so many Georgia families.
Reverend Warnock also believes we need to responsibly fund the police while reimagining the relationship between police departments and the communities that they serve. In order to ensure accountability and build trust, he understands that we need to invest resources into the training of police officers and into building genuine bonds of community rather than sowing the seeds of distrust. For this relationship, it’s equally critical for communities to trust that the justice system is designed to support them, which is why Reverend Warnock also supports appointing independent prosecutors to handle police-involved shootings.
Through his work at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Reverend Warnock has advocated for criminal justice reform measures that make sense for Georgia. And in the wake of nation-wide protests in response to police brutality, Reverend Warnock has joined the chorus of leaders pushing for accountability and equal protection under the law. It was with that same spirit in 2019 that Reverend Warnock hosted a multifaith, multicultural initiative to end mass incarceration, galvanizing faith leaders on issues like bail reform and hosting a mass record expungement event.
In the Senate, Warnock will work to:
- Responsibly fund police departments while increasing accountability and ensuring our communities can support critical services outside of the criminal justice system;
- Reduce senseless gun violence;
- Reform the bail system and end mass incarceration;
- End the use of privatized prisons; and
- Ensure returning citizens can reenter society with access to adequate resources and support.