Biden announces plan to counteract mass incarceration

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says Trump executive order is 'a reckless war on Social Security' Trump got into testy exchange with top GOP donor Adelson: report Blumenthal calls for declassification of materials detailing Russian threat to US elections 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 BookerSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Ex-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets MORE (N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden campaign says no VP pick yet after bike trail quip Hillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column Biden edges closer to VP pick: Here's who's up and who's down 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 BlasioThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Key 48 hours loom as negotiators push for relief deal Overnight Health Care: Fauci says family has faced threats | Moderna to charge to a dose for its vaccine | NYC adding checkpoints to enforce quarantine New York City adding 'key entry point' checkpoints to enforce quarantine 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 TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally 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.