The criminal justice reform that Joe Biden promised to carry out
The Democratic Party's presidential candidate, and possible next president of the United States, Joe Biden, placed emphasis during the campaign on reforming the country's criminal justice system.
Specifically, Biden's campaign website contains the main changes that he would like to make from the presidency. These principles are articulated under what is called The Biden Plan for Strengthening America's Commitment to Justice.
We summarise the following:
- Reduce the number of people incarcerated in this country while also reducing crime. No one should be incarcerated for drug use alone. Instead, they should be diverted to drug courts and treatment. Reducing the number of incarcerated individuals will reduce federal spending on incarceration. These savings should be reinvested in the communities impacted by mass incarceration.
- The US criminal justice system cannot be just unless we root out the racial, gender, and income-based disparities in the system. Black mothers and fathers should feel confident that their children are safe walking the streets of America. And, when a police officer pins on that shield and walks out the door, the officer’s family should know they’ll come home at the end of the day. Additionally, women and children are uniquely impacted by the criminal justice system, and the system needs to address their unique needs.
- The US criminal justice system must be focused on redemption and rehabilitation. Making sure formerly incarcerated individuals have the opportunity to be productive members of our society is not only the right thing to do, it will also grow our economy.
- No one should be profiteering off of our criminal justice system.
Among other proposals, Biden wants to take bold action to reduce our prison population, create a more just society and make our communities safer, by:
- Preventing crime and providing opportunities for all.
- Eliminating racial disparities and ensuring fair sentences.
- Offering second chances.
- Reducing violence in our communities and supporting survivors of violence.
One of the reasons why Joe Biden wants to reform the criminal justice system is the following:
- The percentage of girls in our juvenile justice system who have a history of physical or sexual abuse could be as high as 80 or 90%.
- Roughly 1 out of every 4 children in foster care will interact with the criminal justice system just two years after exiting foster care.
- Incarcerated individuals have lower literacy levels than individuals not involved in the criminal justice system.
- Too many people with mental health or substance use disorders end up incarcerated.