Read our new “Make It Work” Checklist to Help Tackle the Public Health and Economic Crisis >>

, an evidence-based, comprehensive bill to reform our criminal justice system “.” The Biden Plan will also go further. Biden will 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 

Preventing crime is the best way to make our communities safer and reduce incarceration. 

Evidence tell us that certain life experiences are strongly correlated with an increased likelihood of future incarceration. 

We have to address these underlying factors to provide opportunities for all and prevent crime and incarceration.

Focusing on addressing these underlying factors is not just the right thing to do, it is also good for our communities and our economy. It costs the federal government about to hold someone in federal prison. And that dollar amount doesn’t begin to capture “ emotional and financial whose loved ones are incarcerated. This dollar amount doesn’t capture the ways in which mass incarceration can tear apart the fabric of a community. And, it doesn’t capture the economic impact of removing incarcerated individuals from the labor force.

The Biden Plan will shift our country’s focus from incarceration to prevention. As president, Biden will:

ELIMINATING RACIAL DISPARITIES AND ENSURING FAIR SENTENCES 

We need to confront racial and income-based disparities in our justice system and eliminate overly harsh sentencing for non-violent crimes. As president, Biden will:

JUVENILE JUSTICE

As president, Biden will prioritize reform of the juvenile justice system to make sure we give more children a second chance to live up to their potential. His administration will develop and implement policies in this space based upon input from children and young adults who interacted with the criminal justice system as children.

To begin, the Biden Administration will:

  • Invest $1 billion per year in juvenile justice reform. One of the federal government’s most significant tools for shaping juvenile justice policy is through grant programs to fund and incentivize state action. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act allows states to use funds for providing children with legal representation and helping them seal and expunge records. In return for taking these funds, states have to fulfill prohibiting children from being incarcerated in facilities where they will interact with incarcerated adults and addressing the disproportionate representation of children of color in the juvenile justice system. Congress recently reauthorized this Act at a funding level of per year, but only appropriated in funds for fiscal year 2019. As president, Biden will push for full funding of the Act and then go further, investing a total of $1 billion per year to reform our juvenile justice system.
  • Incentivize states to stop incarcerating kids. We can cut the population of incarcerated youth by supporting community-based alternatives to incarceration like mentorship, counseling, and jobs. This doesn’t mean ankle bracelets, it means in-person support for our kids. Toward this end, President Biden will create a new grant program to encourage states to (1) place non-violent youth in community-based alternatives to prison, and (2) empty prisons for the community’s benefit so they cannot be used in the future for detention. This initiative will begin as a $100 million pilot program in 15-30 states and counties. To receive this grant funding, localities will be required to bring young people and impacted communities to the table as they develop plans for reducing juvenile incarceration.
  • Expand funding for after-school programs, community centers, and summer jobs to keep young people active, busy, learning, and having fun. Biden will expand the federal investment in programs that create safe, nurturing spaces for children to spend time when not in school. Biden will also create an expanded national summer jobs program for young adults so they have an opportunity to stay busy, earn an income, and learn new skills. 
  • End the use of detention as punishment for status offenses. interact with our justice system every year merely because they commit an unlawful act that would be legal if they were older. Children end up incarcerated due to acts such as . Biden will add to juvenile justice grant programs a requirement that states eliminate detention as a punishment for status offenses, and instead make sure these young people engage in community service, workforce programs, or mentorship and therapy as needed.
  • End the school to prison pipeline by focusing on prevention. Biden will focus on investing in prevention in our schools. He’ll start by doubling the number of mental health professionals in our schools so behavioral and emotional challenges can be addressed by appropriately skilled psychologists, counselors, and social workers, not our criminal justice system. And, he will restore the Obama-Biden Administration to help schools address the high number of suspensions and expulsions that affect students of color at a higher rate than white students. 
  • Give children a true second chance by protecting juvenile records. A fundamental aim of the juvenile justice system is to give minors who commit offenses a real chance to reach their full potential as adults. But, they cannot do so if their criminal records are made public or are otherwise accessible in ways that limit their access to education and/or jobs. , protections for juvenile records are inadequate. Biden will add to existing juvenile justice grant programs a requirement that states and localities take action to secure these records, including of juvenile records.

OFFERING SECOND CHANCES

Biden believes in redemption. After incarcerated individuals serve their time, they should have the opportunity to fully reintegrate into society, earn a good living, and participate in our democracy as our fellow citizens. It will not only benefit them, it will benefit all of society. It is also our best strategy to reduce recidivism. 

President Biden will:

REDUCING VIOLENCE AND SUPPORTING SURVIVORS OF VIOLENCE

We should pursue evidence-based measures to root out persistent violent crime. Violent offenders need to be held accountable, and survivors need to have access to support to deal with the physical, psychological, and financial consequences of violence.

President Biden will: