Joe Biden
Joe Biden
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Joe Biden Wants to Eliminate Private Prisons, Doesn't Agree With Legalizing Marijuana

Biden opposes federal marijuana legalization which has proven to motivate progressives and young people and Black Americans to vote.

In an effort to bridge gaps found within the Democratic Party, presidential nominee Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders have rolled out a lengthy set of policy recommendations. Areas covered include criminal justice, health care, the economy, education, immigration, and climate change. The biggest takeaway from the recommendations created by six policy task forces is Biden’s stance on private prisons. 

In 1994, Biden was instrumental in passing the 1994 crime bill, he has received criticism for this throughout his campaign.  Today, the New York Times reports he agrees with eliminating private prisons. Though he previously had not endorsed this notion, in the past, Sanders heralded this publicly. 

Though the above is a step in the right direction, Biden however has made it clear he opposes federal marijuana legalization. The task force supports decriminalizing and legalizing it at the federal level for medical use. Additionally, the report notes states should “decide whether to legalize it for recreational use.” Young people, Black Americans, and progressives have been proven to be motivated to vote in favor of supporting the use of marijuana. Time will tell if Biden declares he agrees with these suggestions. 

Another notable portion of the policy recommendations included a call for an end to cash bail and getting rid of “mandatory minimum sentences.” Biden supported this in the primary. An additional section worth noting called out ensuring accountability for individual and systemic misconduct in police departments. The task force also mentioned there should be a federal standard for police’s use of force and that a national database of police officers that commit misconduct should exist. 

According to a New York Times report, to receive Biden's approval for the recommendations co-chairs of committees communicated with his campaign on the language in the lengthy document. The campaign approved all points.

The criminal justice reform committee included the co-chairs Chiraag Bains and Rep. Bobby Scott, Symone Sanders, Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-TN), Rep. Justin Bamberg (D-SC), Vanita Gupta, Former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Stacey Walker.