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. 

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“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 BidenButtigieg campaign claims 'irregularities' in Nevada caucuses Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE and Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Buttigieg campaign claims 'irregularities' in Nevada caucuses Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll Sanders has wide leads in two of three battleground states: survey MORE (D-Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisClyburn: Biden 'suffered' from not doing 'enough' in early debates Sanders is a risk, not a winner House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MORE (D-Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerNew Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announces tumor on kidney, will undergo treatment The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dem anxiety grows ahead of Super Tuesday House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime 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.