Joe Biden has come a long way in criminal justice reform. Progressives want more

Joe Biden has come a long way in criminal justice reform. Progressives want more
Former Vice President Joe Biden has primarily reacted to the consequences of George Floyd's death, contrasting his style of government and leadership with that of President Trump. But the alleged Democratic presidential candidate has included his speeches, interviews and campaign statements with specific policy details.

Biden has called for a federal ban on police hurdles, a new Federal Police Inspection Commission, new national rules for when and how to use police force, more mandatory data collection from local law enforcement, and more. Power to investigate local police departments, among other changes for the Department of Justice.

"We promise to make it, last week, an era of action to reverse systemic racism with far-overdue and tangible changes," Biden said in a speech last week.

And while Biden has rejected progressive demands for certain demands, Trump is eager to link his opponent with "underinfining" police departments, with Biden saying federal funding for law enforcement should be based on " "Whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honesty. "

I have long believed strongly in the power of community policing: getting policemen off their cruise ships and building relationships with the people and communities they serve there for service and safety, ”Biden wrote in USA Today Wednesday. ”That is why I am proposing an additional $ 300 million to revive community policing in our country. All police departments must have the money they need to institute substantive reforms, such as adopting a national standard for the use of force, purchasing body cameras and recruiting more diverse police officers. "

Two members of a task force tasked with moving Biden's campaign platform to the left are encouraged by Biden's initial statements and demands, but expect the former author of tough crime bills to adopt reforms. Police and criminal justice law is even more widespread.

"I am encouraged that you are getting specific and trying to find the moment," said Chirag Bains, who worked in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department during the Obama administration. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont turned to Bains to co-chair the Criminal Justice Reform Committee, which the Sanders and Biden campaigns held as part of a broader effort to reach greater political consensus. Installed at the end of. Between the progressive and liberal wings of the Democratic Party.

"It's not enough to talk about people's pain and speak the right words," said Bains, who insisted he was speaking for himself, not for the task force.

Bains said Biden's statements and speeches have been the perfect start and have been well received, especially when compared to the president. "But we need a specific agenda and it should be bold," he said. "I see the Vice President moving in that direction. I think we need to do more."

Bains wants Biden to expand on previously announced proposals to end mandatory minimum prison terms and increase the use of clemency. It is also pushing for the restoration of federal parole and legalization of marijuana, among other policies.

Progressives see this moment of national protest and call for action, even when a former Republican presidential nominee marches and proclaims that "Black Life Matter" is a unique opportunity in generations for substantial reforms .

Stacey Walker, a fellow Sanders appointed to the Criminal Justice Task Force and chair of the Linn County Council of Supervisors in Iowa, called the global protests against police violence and racism a "global liberation movement." This can open the door to large-scale policy changes.

"I think the vice president fully understands that we are in a moral moment in history," Walker said. "The policies you are supporting are definitely a step in the right direction, and will help fuel dialogue on the issues we want to address. Now, there are many advocates in the criminal justice reform space Those who believe we can do more, who believe that this is a time, in the freedom struggle of black Americans in this country, like no other. "

The task force, split between Sanders and Biden appointments, meets online once a week, with frequent small phone calls and emails between members between sessions. Along with other committees working on climate change and other policy areas, he aims to present the proposal before the August Democratic National Convention.

An example of the push and pull between Biden's instinct and the progress of the herd for Sanders, and winning this fall would require Biden to back off: how to reduce federal marijuana restrictions. Biden has said to reduce marijuana. Bains expects Biden to go on the call for full legalization.

Bains clarified, "In general it means that you do not have criminal penalties, but you can still be fined." And then there can be other types of results. '"" It's still unlawful conduct. If marijuana possession is just decriminalized and it's a hook for broader police involvement in people's lives, and if the systemic issues inherent in the police and drug systems are not addressed Justice in general, then people can be detained and searched and searched. "

Nevertheless, in the event of not being legally legalized, marijuana indicates a notable change for Biden, who as a senator authored several stringent measures against crime in the 1980s and 1990s. And voted, which strengthened the restrictions for it. Drug related offenses especially.

The most prominent measure: the 1994 crime bill, in which Biden helped draft as a senator. While Biden regularly enacts a 10-year ban on the sale of domestic violence and assault weapons, the move is widely viewed by a generation as a major moment in a political moment that has led to ever - Sometimes prisons increased. More mob and it attacked black Americans.

"We know over time that we made some terrible mistakes," Jeremy Travis, president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told NPR in 2014.

Travis said, "Here comes the federal government and says that if you punish people more harshly, we'll give you money, and 28 states and the District of Columbia have followed the money and enacted strict laws for violent crime."

When the Biden campaign launched its criminal justice policy platform last year, an important provision proposed the opposite. Biden wants to finance a $ 20 billion grant program aimed at reducing encroachment and crime rates in the states. "To obtain this funding, states must withdraw mandatory minimum funds for nonviolent offenses, institute credit programs and take other measures to reduce wage growth without affecting public safety," the policy document Bell.

But despite Biden's changes, some progressivists still view him skeptically about criminal justice and watch Biden cautiously for promising police abuse amid an unprecedented national focus on police violence and racism.

"This is an opportunity for him to be held responsible for his role in promoting the criminal bill in the 1990s that gave federal support to local police departments, federal armed police departments, and much higher expectations and money toward them Going, "progressive organizer Amy Allison told NPR's Morning Edition.

Allison is particularly disappointed at the speed with which Biden rejected calls to "underfund" police departments.

"We understand that the phrase 'defining the police' is an acronym for a series of serious political proposals that would end the cycle of police violence against blacks and put public safety before the violence," Allison said. "But if Joe Biden isn't serious about ending that cycle, he's risking the success of his campaign. I mean, this is the turning point for him."

Stacey Walker also supports the disbursement of the police fund, although she acknowledged that "when we have a marketing and branding in our hands" when it comes to selling non-progressives with the idea of ​​diverting government resources from enforcement. May be a problem of ". Laws towards social services, education and other fields.

Walker does not see Biden changing the subject. But in the end, he doesn't think that Biden, who accepts Pragya, will get hurt.

"We all understand that Donald Trump is appreciative of our democracy, for the American project, and for the Democrats," Walker said. "So, when you know, we can't get to a point where everyone is happy, although that's the goal, I think the Democrats will united."

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