Rep. Ocasio-Cortez: Not Acceptable to Use Jails as Garbage Bins for Humans

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez: Not Acceptable to Use Jails as Garbage Bins for Humans Rep. Ocasio-Cortez: Not Acceptable to Use Jails as Garbage Bins for Humans (Getty Images)

By Solange Reyner | Thursday, 03 June 2021 07:46 PM

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., says if the U.S. wants to reduce the number of people in jails, “the answer is to stop building more of them.”

“It is not acceptable for us to use jails as garbage bins for human beings. We need to treat people and see them as human,” Ocasio-Cortez said at a press conference in New York City.

“If we want to reduce the number of people in our jails, the answer is to stop building more of them … It’s to support communities, not throw them away,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.

“Our complete gutting of support in our mental health system both in this city and across the country is absolutely correlated with both homelessness and incidents of violent crime,” she said.

More than 200,000 people are serving life sentences in U.S. prisons, according to the Sentencing Project, a research group that promotes criminal justice reform.

Ocasio-Cortez said the answer is to “make sure we actually build more hospitals, we pay organizers, we get people mental health care.

“It’s to support communities, not throw them away.”

The U.S. saw significant crime rise across major cities in 2020, with increases in at least one category of violent crimes in 63 of the 66 largest police jurisdictions.

In Los Angeles, homicides have increased nearly 36 percent from 67 to 91 through March 30. Homicides are up 33 percent in Chicago in the first three months of 2021 compared to 2020, while shootings are up nearly 40 percent for the same period year-over-year, and murder rates jumped by nearly 14 percent through March 28 in New York City.