Rabbi Aaron Weininger's remarks on Mass Incarceration

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Mass incarceration raises more bars but guarantees less justice. The Torah commands me as a Jewish person, "Justice justice you shall pursue" (Deuteronomy 16:20). Commenting on the unusual repetition of the word "justice," 19th century Rabbi Simcha Bunim teaches that we are to pursue justice justly. A system that imposes harsh minimum sentences and inconsistent policies guarantees less justice and thwarts a just pursuit. 

We know "African Americans and White Americans have the same rate of drug use, but African Americans are 3-5 times more likely to be arrested for drug use" (source: T'ruah) "African Americans are incarcerated 10 times more than whites" (source: JCA). 

Let us not become imprisoned to the consequences of pursuing justice unjustly. Our system needs drug sentencing reform. Let's raise more justice, not more bars. As a rabbi proud to stand with Jewish Community Action, I support these critical reforms so that we pursue justice justly for all Minnesotans. 

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