You Make the Case is a criminal justice reform campaign led by the ACLU of Kansas to build safer & stronger communities.
How? By educating voters to urge their county prosecutors to seek alternatives to mass incarceration. Prosecutors make cases all day long, but now it's time for you to make the case for smarter solutions.
Although the crime rate in Kansas has consistently declined over the past four decades, the prison population has quadrupled. Today, nearly 10,000 Kansans, many struggling with mental health or substance abuse, sit behind bars at an annual cost of $229 million.
The prosecutor uses his or her discretion to file charges and seek sentences that condemn offenders to a prison sentence that can have lifelong consequences, far outweighing the severity of the crime. However, many voters don’t realize that a single elected official holds most of the responsibility for this profoundly important decision.
Local prosecutors wield enormous power to shape their communities. By rejecting mass incarceration, prosecutors can strengthen families and make their communities safer. They have a number of smart justice tools at their disposal. Too many just refuse to use them.
Local prosecutors can choose diversion - a smart justice policy that saves money, while preventing overcrowding in jails and prisons. Diversion allows individuals the opportunity to learn from their mistakes so they can become productive law-abiding members of the community. Diversion makes good use of taxpayer dollars by connecting low-level offenders to the tools they need to avoid reoffending, greatly reducing the rate of recidivism.