Warren offers plan to repeal 1994 crime law authored by Biden

Warren offers plan to repeal 1994 crime law authored by Biden
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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Top Senate Democrat backs waiver for Biden Pentagon nominee Consumer bureau director resigns after Biden's inauguration MORE (D-Mass.) on Tuesday released an extensive criminal justice reform plan that calls for repealing the 1994 crime law authored by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenKaty Perry and her 'Firework' close out inauguration TV special Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Tom Hanks: After years of 'troubling rancor,' Inauguration Day 'is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal' MORE, a fellow Democratic presidential candidate.

“That punitive 'tough on crime' approach was wrong, it was a mistake, and it needs to be repealed," Warren wrote in her proposal for overhauling the criminal justice system. "There are some sections of law, like those relating to domestic violence, that should be retained — but the bulk of the law must go."

While the plan doesn't mention Biden by name, Warren's plan focuses on policies that were included in the 1994 legislation.


Biden, who spearheaded the bipartisan bill’s passage while in the Senate, has been on the defensive as progressive Democrats criticize his role in crafting the law. Criminal justice reform advocates and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have blamed the legislation for contributing to mass incarceration in the U.S.

The bill allocated increased money for prison construction, made gang membership a crime and included a "three strikes" provision that imposed mandatory life sentences for a violent felony after two previous offenses.

Other provisions of the law have been more widely praised by progressives, including Warren, such as the Violence Against Women Act and an assault weapons ban, which later expired in 2004.

Warren's plan also addresses the so-called school-to-prison pipeline by calling for the decriminalization of truancy and increasing mental health personnel in schools.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisKaty Perry and her 'Firework' close out inauguration TV special Biden's first foreign leader call to be with Canada's Trudeau on Friday Harris now 'the most influential woman' in American politics MORE (D-Calif.), another White House contender, has been scrutinized by progressives for her work as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general, when she championed truancy laws that led to the arrests of some parents.

Warren also pledged in her proposal to rescind an executive order signed by President TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE allowing school districts to participate in what's known as the 1033 program, which allows local law enforcement, including school police departments, access to surplus military hardware.

Warren said her plan would boost investment in “violence interruption” programs that intervene in communities to prevent homicide and gun violence through focused deterrence.

“These programs are cost-effective and have multiplier effects: transforming community climate, improving health outcomes, and boosting local economies,” Warren wrote, noting the success of such efforts in Chicago, Boston and Oakland, Calif.

“It is a false choice to suggest a tradeoff between safety and mass incarceration,” she wrote. “By spending our budgets not on imprisonment but on community services that lift people up, we’ll decarcerate and make our communities safer.”

The plan put forth by Warren follows the release of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Sanders's inauguration look promptly gets a bobblehead Booker brings girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson, to inauguration MORE’s (I-Vt.) criminal justice reform plan earlier this week. His proposal calls for an end to mandatory minimum sentences and halving the U.S. prison population.

Updated at 10:34 a.m.