O'Rourke unveils criminal justice reform plan

O'Rourke unveils criminal justice reform plan
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Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke would end mass incarceration by repealing portions of the 1994 crime bill and investing $500 million into a pilot program to develop alternatives to incarceration, his campaign said in a plan released Monday

The former Texas congressman focuses on ending mass incarceration while reforming the criminal justice system to prioritize rehabilitation. 

“It’s unacceptable that America, the home of the free, locks up more of our own than any other country on the face of the planet, as we continue to have the world’s largest prison population — disproportionately comprised of people of color,” O’Rourke said. 

In addition to calling for a repeal of portions of the 1994 crime bill, O’Rourke said he would ban private, for-profit prison systems and end the cash bail system. 

O’Rourke joins many of his fellow 2020 candidates in calling for the private-prison ban, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE and Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? Young voters set turnout record, aiding Biden win MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? Alito to far-right litigants: The buffet is open MORE (D-Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisWomen set to take key roles in Biden administration Trump campaign appeals dismissal of Pennsylvania election challenge Pressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win MORE (D-Calif.) and Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  Hill associations push for more diversity in lawmakers' staffs Sanders celebrates Biden-Harris victory: 'Thank God democracy won out' MORE (D-N.J.). 

He also said he’d set a goal to reduce incarceration by at least 25,000 inmates during his first term and would call on governors to set their own “aggressive” clemency goals. 

O’Rourke added that he would restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. 

His plan also calls for abolishing the death penalty as part of O’Rourke’s goal to “prioritize fair treatment and rehabilitation during incarceration.” Nearly all Democrats running in the primary have said they would eliminate capital punishment.

O’Rourke said he would also expand access to health care and make Pell Grants available to prisoners and increase access to apprenticeship programs.