WE NEED CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Joe Biden has fought to defeat systemic racism and racial disparities his entire career. That’s why the 1994 Crime Bill put a heavy emphasis on preventing crime, funding community programs and setting up drug courts. The bill also included the Violence Against Women Act and the bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Overall, the bill contributed to cutting violent crime nearly in half. The number of violent crimes in 1991 was 758 per 100,000. By 2011, it was less than 400.
But let’s be clear: there are too many people in prison today - especially people of color.
The Obama-Biden administration started to address the problem by reducing the federal prison population by 38,000 and narrowing the crack-powder cocaine disparity.
Now, Joe Biden has called on Congress to pass Rep. Bobby Scott’s Safe Justice Act - and add more provisions:
- No mandatory minimums
- End private prisons
- Bail reform
- No juveniles in adult prisons
- Fund drug courts
- Job training and education
- Automatic restoration of voting rights and benefits - from Pell grants to housing benefits - once a sentence is served
- Decriminalizing marijuana and automatic expungements for all prior convictions for marijuana use