Norm Stamper

Author of To Protect and Serve:
How to Fix America’s Police

Norm now writes for the Huffington Post.
Check out his blog here:

An Ex-Cop’s Agenda

End the Drug War… Abolish the Death Penalty… Vanquish Domestic Violence… Make Schools and Neighborhoods Safer… Drive Bigotry and Brutality Out of the Criminal Justice System… Honor the Constitution… Build Respect for Cops…

Justice is like a train that is nearly always late.
—Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Happening upon this quote by the great Russian poet and filmmaker, I’m reminded of the vast numbers of long-dead Americans denied simple justice in their lifetimes.

The train arrived too late, for example, for millions of African Americans who for centuries were legally victimized by slavery, segregation, and economic and physical cruelty.

Resistance to basic legal reforms guarantees that many millions of Americans will go to their graves as victims of sanctioned injustice. The train is not even in sight for the half million non-violent drug offenders (disproportionately poor and of color) languishing in our prisons, the result of a fatally flawed belief that prohibition works, or can somehow be made to work. Research and the experience of many other nations demonstrate how the regulated legalization of all drugs would make our neighborhoods, and our citizens, safer and healthier.

The U.S., with less than five percent of the world’s population, is home to 25 percent of its prisoners, a whopping 2.3 million people. Some offenders belong in prison, many do not. We pay dearly for a vindictive system that often serves to make matters worse, much worse.

In only 13 states is the barbaric, fruitless practice of human execution outlawed. The “Innocence Projects” around the country have freed over 200 wrongly convicted persons, many of them after having served 10 or 20 or more years in prison, some on death row. No one knows how many innocent people have been put to death in this country. The memory of even one should sear the conscience of the American people, and force our lawmakers to end the death penalty.

Violence in the home denies basic security and emotional wellbeing for millions of people, most of them women, many of them children. Being brutalized, terrorized, forced to live in fear of a “loved one” is an abject form of injustice.

Guns in the hands of people who should never touch a firearm ensures unsafe homes, schools and campuses across the land, and the continuing threat of the slaughter of America’s children.

Many organizations are dedicated to eradicating these ills. Here are just a few I work with and/or support:

American Civil Liberties Union,
Amnesty International,
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence,
Death Penalty Focus,
Drug Policy Alliance,
Family Violence Prevention Fund,
Human Rights Campaign,
Innocence Project,
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition,