Biden announces plan to counteract mass incarceration

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris to host virtual Hollywood campaign event co-chaired by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling Trump plans to accept Republican nomination from White House lawn US seizes four vessels loaded with Iranian fuel MORE announced on Tuesday a sweeping criminal justice reform plan aimed at reducing mass incarceration.

The presidential hopeful's proposal includes an end to mandatory minimum sentences and the use of private prisons. Biden's plan would also see an end to all incarceration for drug use alone, an end to cash bail and a moratorium on placing juveniles in adult prisons. 

Biden is urging a $20 billion competitive grant program that aims to encourage investment in preventing incarceration and crime at state and local levels by targeting "illiteracy and child abuse that are correlated with incarceration."

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The proposal stipulates that states would need to eliminate mandatory minimums for nonviolent crimes, implement earned credit programs and "take other steps to reduce incarceration rates without impacting public safety."

The plan's rollout comes amid scrutiny of Biden's record on criminal justice matters during his time as a senator. Critics have pointed to Biden's role in passing a 1994 crime bill that imposed tougher prison sentences, provided funds for state prison construction and incentivized drug-related arrests.

Fellow Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden, Harris make first public appearance as running mates Booker hits back at Trump tweet, mocks misspelling of name MORE (N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris to host virtual Hollywood campaign event co-chaired by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling Democrats hammer Trump for entertaining false birther theory about Harris Hillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations MORE (Calif.) have said the bill contributed to mass incarceration. Booker said earlier this month that the legislation “is a horrific bill that has led to the reality right now that is indefensible, where we have more African Americans under criminal supervision in America than all the slaves in 1850.”

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioCuomo calls on NYPD to 'step up' in enforcing coronavirus regulations at bars Feehery: Weak mayors destroy America's great cities Dozens of state, local health leaders fired or resigned amid pandemic: report MORE has also criticized the measure, telling ABC News in May “we need a nominee in the Democratic Party that understands the crime bill was a mistake.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE has also criticized Biden for the bill, stating that it discouraged African American voters from supporting Biden and contrasting it to his own signing of bipartisan criminal justice reform in 2018.

“[Biden] knows that a number of people are going to try to weaponize his services in Congress against him, and I know some people in this race would like to believe he never served as the vice president to President Obama. But he's proud of his record," a senior campaign official told ABC News.

"As he noted he didn't always get everything right. And I think this plan is a true reflection of what he believes,” the official added.