RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act of 1970) laws were initially designed to prosecute powerful organized crime syndicates like the Mafia. Over the past few years, RICO has been used to excessively charge young people of color from low-income neighborhoods as if they were gangsters.
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STOP THE RAIDS, REFORM RICO AND END OVER-PROSECUTION OF OUR COMMUNITIES.
We are asking you to act now to #ReformRICO and stop prosecutors from using these federal laws, originally designed to take down the Mob, to score easy convictions against poor communities of color. Innocent teens and young adults are often forced to take plea deals when faced with first-degree conspiracy counts on which they can face a maximum of 25-years-to-life in prison.
The overwhelming majority of those charged never see trial. RICO laws are disastrous and have ruined lives, torn apart families and contributed to the enormous racial inequities we have come to expect with mass incarceration.
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Trump's inaugural pledge for "law and order" is coded messaging to law enforcement agencies, both local and federal, that will empower them to continue their abusive, racialized policing. This will mean more arrests and more incarceration at a time when America should be moving away from needless punishment of Blacks and Latinos.
Collaboration between local police departments and federal law enforcement in large, military-style "gang" raids have been cheered on by sensationalized media reports. The reports describe these young men as all being dangerous and part of organized criminal enterprises -- which they were not.
Over the past few years we have seen the emergence of a bipartisan consensus for criminal and civil justice reforms. Movements are growing across our nation urging legislators to change unfair laws that hurt families and communities of color. A wasted $80 billion a year spent on prisons actually dehumanizes inmates, many of whom are detained in inhumane conditions, some tortured in solitary confinement and denied visits or communication with their families.
Sign this petition, spearheaded by family members of those charged with RICO.
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-- The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.