2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden unveiled “The Biden Plan for Strengthening America’s Commitment to Justice” Tuesday, which aims to house 100% of formerly incarcerated criminals.
The plan encompasses “equality, equity, justice”— factors that Biden’s campaign said have never been lived up to in the justice system. The proposal outlines how the justice system can help former inmates “get the health care, education, jobs, and housing they need to successfully rejoin society after they serve their time.”
Biden would, if elected president, urge the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing for every person released from jail.
Under his administration, the department would “only contract with entities that are open to housing individuals looking for a second chance. And, [Biden will] expand funding for transitional housing,” the campaign plan states.
Additionally, the former vice president would increase funding for transitional housing, reversing the Trump administration’s cuts for halfway houses for federal prisoners.
This goal is part of a larger plan to give former inmates another chance in society. Housing support is one of the barriers Biden’s campaign wants to eliminate for the formerly incarcerated.
He also aims to “expand access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment, as well as educational opportunities and job training for individuals during and after incarceration,” according to the campaign.
This campaign proposal is at odds with the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the $30 billion “tough on crime law” that Biden helped author under the Clinton administration as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Now, as a Democratic frontrunner in the 2020 presidential race, Biden plans to reverse many of the bill’s policies. The law eliminated higher education for inmates, expanded the death penalty, enacted mandatory minimum prison sentences and created a disparity in certain drug sentences, according to The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
However, Biden still plans on taking measures to drastically reduce violence by prioritizing hate crimes. “The number of hate crimes in the United States reached a five-year high in 2016, and then went up another 17% in 2017. Biden will tackle the rise in hate crimes through moral leadership that makes clear such vitriol has no place in the United States,” the campaign states.
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