Alison Holcomb, who has been called the architect of marijuana legalization in Washington state, and who is criminal justice director of ACLU Washington, has been named national director of the ACLU Campaign to End Mass Incarceration, according to a release from the American Civil Liberties Union.
Holcomb wrote Initiative 502, the measure that legalized recreational marijuana in Washington state, and led the successful campaign to pass it.
In her new job, Holcomb will lead the ACLU effort “to reform state-level criminal justice policies that have increased incarceration rates dramatically during a period of declining crime and have exacerbated racial disparities. Holcomb will lead a nationwide effort in conjunction with ACLU state affiliates around the country,” according to the release. The campaign will be supported by a $50 million grant from The Open Society Foundations.
“We’ve had 40 years of widening the criminal justice net too far and have relied too heavily on punishment to address social and health problems,” Holcomb said in the release. “We’ve drained coffers and cut people off from jobs, housing, and family stability – the very things they need to succeed in society.”
More than 2.2 million adults are in the nation’s jails and prisons, according to the ACLU. The organization says it hopes to cut the nation’s adult jail and prison population numbers in half by 2020.