Published in the Rochester Accent on May 21st:
Emily Good announced her candidacy for Monroe County Sheriff on Monday. The release also invited media to a press conference to be held this morning at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Monroe County Jail on S. Plymouth Ave.
Good’s unlawful arrest for recording an on-duty Rochester police officer in 2011 hit international news and became part of a heated debate about the civic right and responsibility to police the police. We spoke with the activist to learn more about her platform and goals as the Green Party candidate for Sheriff.
Rochester Accent: What led you to run for Monroe County Sheriff?
Emily Good: In the fall of last year I began visiting a political prisoner in Attica. The process of entering the prison often includes bearing heartbreaking witness to families being denied visitation for petty, irregular reasons that are also frequently racist and sexist. The prison brought up deep feelings of injustice and suffering that I felt called to explore further, so I started reading more about the criminal justice system and alternative models.
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow really spurred me to take action, as did the letters I received from prisoners across the state responding to my unlawful arrest two years ago. The more I learned about the so-called correctional system, the more I saw its shattering impacts around me.
I spend some time at the local Catholic Worker house, part of a movement founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, whose mission to build a society in which it is easier for people to be good to each other resonates strongly with me. Visits to our county jail and state prison clearly demonstrate that we are not doing the best we can to build that society, so I decided to make an effort to change the way we approach law enforcement and incarceration.
You have chosen to run for Sheriff as the Green Party candidate. What does Green Party philosophy specifically bring to the table with regards to law enforcement and the criminal justice system?
I have been a Green Party member since I first registered to vote, which probably makes it easier for me to embrace the idea of becoming a candidate. Grassroots democracy is one of the party’s key values, and it works best when “regular folks” from across the community get involved in creating the policies that affect them. Law enforcement affects all of us, though its visible presence in our lives varies greatly, depending on where we live, what we look like, and other factors. A commitment to equal opportunity coupled with respect for diversity leads Green policymakers towards a system that tracks race and ethnicity for all interactions with law enforcement officers. Collecting these data will draw our attention to patterns of disproportionate engagement that we can then work on changing.
The core Green concept of sustainability has relevance far beyond maintaining our physical land base. When we look at the long-term reality of imprisoning people, we see that most of these people will sooner or later return to our communities, and we will reap what we have sown through our investments in their lives. Using restorative justice models along with therapy, training, and education programs will help bring people back to our community who are able to contribute meaningfully to society as they rebuild their lives and futures. The system that is currently in place neglects this long-term perspective, reflecting a poor use of resources that too often results in persistent crises for those impacted by the system.
The Green party condemns the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies, which are guilty of stopping motorists, harassing individuals, or using unwarranted violence against suspects with no other justification than race or ethnic background. They also strongly support the strengthening of legal services for the poor.
The Greens are also committed to increasing participation of women in politics, government and leadership so they can change laws, make decisions, and create policy solutions that will affect and improve women’s lives. Since men dominate the field of law enforcement, I would work for gender equity in department staffing to improve services and expand capacity, particularly in reducing gender violence and other issues that negatively affect women.
To read the full article, please go to the following link: