Mike Gravel on Crime

Libertarian for President; Former Dem. Senator (AK); withdrew from Presidential primary July 2019


Decriminalize all commercial sex work

Despite cultural changes, the U.S. government has maintained a puritanical approach to commercial sex work. Many Americans have come to see this work without the blinkered moralistic view of yesteryear; and they have come to recognize commercial sex workers as one of society's most vulnerable communities. Women of color, of migrant backgrounds, and transgender women often rely on sex work for money. It is time to take a more rational approach.
Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website MikeGravel.com , Apr 9, 2019

Ban cash bail: it only benefits the rich

Prisons should be a place for rehabilitation, where the convicted enter, learn, build themselves, understand their mistakes, and leave the system as better people. We no longer even pretend this is the case.
Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website MikeGravel.com , Apr 9, 2019

No one deserves to be put to death by the state

The death penalty is a relic of an earlier, more brutish time in American history. No one, no matter how terrible their crimes, deserves to be put to death by the state; just as two wrongs do not make a right, an additional death does not ease the awful burden of a victim's family members. Nor does it heal the community in any way. Moreover, the death penalty has repeatedly been shown to be extremely costly, to not infrequently kill innocent people, and to be racially biased in who is executed.
Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website MikeGravel.com , Apr 9, 2019

Eliminate the federal death penalty

Source: Presidential Election 2008 Political Courage Test , Apr 22, 2008

If you don’t have any money, you don’t get any justice

Q: In the last decade, whites were 70% of persons arrested, but only 40% of inmates. Why?

A: Is it a surprise to anybody in this room that if you don’t have any money, you don’t get any justice? My gracious, the only way you’re going to get justice is to turn around and empower yourselves to become lawmakers so you can change the system, and there’s no thought of really changing the system today. It’s politics as usual.

Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University , Jun 28, 2007

Eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing laws

The US incarcerates more people and at a higher rate than any other peacetime nation in the world. The number of US residents behind bars has now reached 2.3 million. We are losing an entire generation of young men and women to our prisons. We must eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing laws. We must increase the use of alternative penalties for nonviolent drug offenders. Prisons in this country should be a legitimate criminal sanction--but it should be an extension of a fair, just and wise society
Source: 2008 Presidential campaign website, gravel2008.us, “Issues” , May 23, 2007

Citizen Power includes abolition of the death penalty

During his first term in the Senate, Gravel authored a book titled Citizen Power. In it, he advocated the implementation of numerous populist ideas, including a guaranteed annual income (dubbed the “Citizen’s Wage”), steps against the military-industrial complex (which he calls the “Warfare State”), abolition of the death penalty, universal health care, school vouchers, a drastic reduction in government secrecy, and an end to what he viewed as an imperialistic foreign policy.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, “Mike Gravel” , Jan 1, 2007

More jails don’t cut crime--must address poverty instead

Russell G. Oswald, Commission of Corrections of NY State, pinpointed the problem: “Society has done damn little in ending poverty illiteracy that provide the seeds of unrest and problems that lead people to prisons.”

The lesson is clear. More police, more jails, more tough talk will not help. None of these traditionally instinctive reactions to crime can stem the rising tide. So long as injustice and inequity in larger society exist on the gross scale that they do today, all the reasoning and rhetoric and police clubs in the world will not stop the have-nots from going after the goods they seek through the only avenue they feel is open to them--crime. So long as we delay the basic reforms, that long will our cities continue to half-exist, in fear, behind locked doors.

Source: Citizen Power, by Sen. Mike Gravel, p.196-197 , Jan 1, 1972

Stop punishment for victimless crimes: drugs, sex & gambling

Because so much crime is the product of people who were in prison, an obvious means of reducing crime is to drastically reduce our prison population. That can be done, at no danger to society, almost overnight. How? By eliminating a whole host of common social activities from the law’s list of “crimes.”

Common activities for which we now punish people--so-called “victimless-crimes” because they affect no one but the participant--include drinking, prostitution, gambling, homosexuality, & use of certain drugs. What is the point of jailing people for these practices? What more towering hypocrisy, what more potent breeder of total disrespect for the law can there be than these “crimes,” which are practiced by millions of citizens, but for which only a few are singled out for punishment?

Victimless crimes are a peril to our health only in so far as they are classified as crimes. Some 51% of criminal arrests in 1970 were for victimless crimes. We could very nearly empty our jails by abolishing them.

Source: Citizen Power, by Sen. Mike Gravel, p.214-215 , Jan 1, 1972

Other candidates on Crime: Mike Gravel on other issues:
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
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External Links about Mike Gravel:

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

Page last updated: Dec 15, 2019