ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – District 11 Congressional candidate Jon Mark Hogg said it’s time for political candidates to move towards a more just society. If elected he wants to reform four key parts of the legal system starting with mandatory sentencing guidelines.
“We have to have these discussions to show that we are standing shoulder to shoulder with our black brothers and sisters,” said Hogg.
“Mandatory sentencing guidelines that have been in use for a long time don’t give the judge really any discretion as far as deviating from it, going bellow if the circumstances warrant it. That’s an issue of fairness not just for black Americans although it negatively impacts them because it results in a large number of people spending a lot of time in prison,” said the candidate.
He also wants to look into giving defendants the choice to have their punishment decided by a jury and not the judge.
“Giving defendants the option to have a jury, a lot of the reforms we are talking about a lot of that is going to be depending a lot on the local and state governments. I believe in local control and they need to make those decisions,” said Hogg.
According to the candidate, another part of the conversation is for-profit prisons who are motivated by profit and not rehabilitation.
“Getting rid of private prisons and detainment centers where you have a whole industry motivated by profit. That profits off of more people being in prison than being out.”
He added that the First Step Act, which was signed by President Donald Trump, which lessens some mandatory sentences is a good first step but it is important to continue to push for a more racially just society for all.
“What we really have to do is as a white society we have to put as much effort into eradicating those vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow and discrimination and racism as we did into promoting slavery and the Jim Crow Laws in the first place.”
We did reach out to August Pfluger, his Republican opponent, multiple times to see how he would address racial injustice and have not heard back with a comment.