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Biden announces plan to counteract mass incarceration

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Former Vice President Joe Biden 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.”{mosads}

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 Booker (N.J.) and Kamala Harris (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 Blasio 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 Trump 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.

Tags Bill de Blasio Cory Booker Donald Trump Joe Biden Pete Buttigieg
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