Police Reform/Prison Reform:
Both campaigns have openly voiced they are against completely de-funding the police across the country. And prison reform is a layered subject which should include rehabilitation instead of jail as well as re-entering programs for individuals to acclimate back into society and the economy. POLITICO did an intensive look on both campaigns and how they match up when it comes to this topic.
Trump-Pence: In June Trump signed an executive order incentivizing local police departments to reform, including banning the use of chokeholds, database tracking officers’ employment statuses and/or improper use of force. The order came during the height of the racial reckoning that took place over the summer after the repeated deaths of Black community members.
Activists quickly shunned the order which did nothing to eradicate qualified immunity, a legal doctrine which shields police from liability.
In 2018 Trump signed the First Step Act. The legislation expanded judges’ discretion to ignore mandatory minimum sentences in some cases and also shortened some mandatory minimum sentences, such as from life to 25 years, or from 20 years to 15 years, for various offenses.
While we can’t give them a failing grade because a plan does indeed exist, it clearly does not go far enough or wide enough to enact any real meaningful change, especially for Black communities, the most affected group in terms of policing and prison reform.
Biden-Harris: Biden and Harris have a complicated history with both subjects due to Biden’s endorsement of the 1994 Crime Bill and Harris’ prosecutorial record. Biden says he intends to invest $300 million in programs to support community policing and establishing a national use of force standard. He plans to work with congress in decreasing mandatory minimums, cut down on rates of incarceration, further government oversight of local police and prosecutors and Increase the rights and resources for formerly incarcerated people.
Biden in his own words, lays out his plan on his official campaign website.
Our commentary here is similar to Trump. If the focus is providing more money instead of investing in other areas of our communities, it just doesn’t reach far enough.