The Biden Administration Justice Policy
- Posted: October 08, 2023
- Category: Research insights
In America, we have always tried to bring equality and justice to all. We have never fully lived up this idea, but throughout history, the people have never stopped trying. This is something that the Biden administration are keeping in mind, when drawing up how they will improve America’s justice policy.
Right now, too many people are incarcerated in the US, and far too many of them are minorities. To fully bring justice to Americans and to actually reform those who are sent to jail, we need to think about who is being sent to jail, how they are treated in jail, and how we set them up to succeed once they have served their time.
The SAFE Justice Act
Biden is calling for the immediate passage of the SAFE Justice Act, which is aims at fully reforming our criminal justice system. On top of this, he is looking to create a more just society via the following steps:
- Preventing crime and offering opportunities to every American.
- Eliminating racial disparities and ensuring everyone is given a fair sentence.
- Giving prisoners who have served their time the means to start again.
- Reducing violence, and supporting survivors of violence.
Preventing Crime And Offering Opportunity
If we want to improve our communities, the first thing we should do is prevent crime. The Biden administration understands that there are certain life experiences that can lead to future incarceration. For example, around 80 to 90% of girls in the juvenile justice system have a history of physical or sexual abuse. Also, roughly one out of every four children in foster care will have an interaction with the criminal justice system just two years after they leave care.
As such, we need to be addressing these factors to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be their best.
There are several ways that the administration are looking to do this. Firstly, they are looking to invest in educational options for all. That includes making pre-K education available to every single three and four-year-old in the country. He will also triple funding for Title I, which is the federal program which funds schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families.
There will also be funding for mental health and substance use disorder services and research, to ensure that people who are suffering with these issues get help long before the situation can escalate. This includes doubling the number of mental health workers in schools, so children can get the mental health care they need sooner.
Eliminating Racial Disparities
It cannot be denied that there is are real disparities but it comes to race and income in our justice system. As such, Biden is looking to eliminate these disparities, so everybody gets the same level of justice.
This includes putting plans into place to address this conduct in police departments and prosecutors’ offices, in order to increase trust and ensure equality for everyone who encounters these services.
There are also be investment into quality counsel for all defendants, again to ensure that they get a fairer hearing. Right now, this council is too hard to access and leaves many without the counsel that they should be getting.
As well as this, the administration looks to end the federal crack and powder cocaine disparity. This gap was narrowed during the Obama Biden administration, and during Biden’s time in office, he aims to narrow that gap even further.
Offering Support To Those Needing A Second Chance
Once somebody has served their time, they need help to fully realise their potential and ensure that they do not reoffend. The support is not currently there, so the Biden administration is looking to put it into place.
This includes setting a national goal, ensuring 100% of formerly incarcerated people have housing upon reentry. This goal is crucial, because if somebody cannot access housing, it destabilizes them, and limits them from staying out of the criminal justice system in the future.
There will also be expanded access to mental health services and substance use disorder treatments, as well as education and job training for those who are incarcerated. This should continue after incarceration, to ensure that everybody can properly re-enter society.
Finally, there are lots of barriers that exist to prevent formally incarcerated people from fully integrating back into their community. The Biden administration is aiming to review these barriers, and assess whether they are needed or can be removed.
Reducing Violence And Supporting Survivors Of Violence
Violent crime has real and lasting effects on its victims, as well as communities as large. The Biden administration aims to reduce violent crime, and protect those who have been the victims of such crimes.
Firstly, there will be a counter to the current rise in hate crimes in the USA. Right now, hate crimes went up 17% in 2017 alone. Through overall leadership and revision of current policies, it will be made clear that hate has no place in the USA.
The administration also aims to bring community based policing to the USA at large. That means that officers should be getting to know who lives in their communities, and undertake a real community policing approach. That’s includes additional training under the Community Oriented Policing Services Program. This program has not fully been funded, and so have not been used to it full potential. Biden will invest $300 million into it, to improve policing throughout the country.
There will also be real investments into supporting survivors of violence. Violent crime leaves long-lasting impact on communities. The Biden administration aims to improve mental health care access, as well as bringing more non traditional support to survivors, such as through art or sports.
Improving the justice system in the USA will take time and effort, but the Biden administration is committed to overhauling the system. When justice is properly being served, communities can properly flourish. The administration aims to reduce trauma in victims, and ensure that previously incarcerated people can get a second chance.