Presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) finally focused her attention and political career on criminal justice reform. Her plan includes combatting crime and improving public safety, according to an August Vox article.
Warren’s proposal emphasizes establishing a clemency board for early release, investing more on addiction treatment, ending the death penalty, eliminating solitary confinement, allowing inmates to make phone calls free of charge, improving mental health treatment and increasing police reforms. She also calls for repealing the 1994 crime law.
Warren’s proposed plan joins those of other Democratic presidential candidates who also support criminal justice reform.
The Vox article pointed out that the sheer mass of incarcerated people in America surpasses even that of authoritarian regimes such as those in Cuba, Russia, and China.
The article noted however that even if she does win the nomination and later the presidency, criminal justice reform may be an uphill battle for Sen. Warren. Eighty-eight percent of inmates are under state control rather than federal. In the past, state governments have resisted federal reform incentives, particularly in Republican-controlled cities and states, according to Vox.
Furthermore, two multi-billion dollar industries will oppose aggressively her most controversial proposals: a ban on private prisons and allowing inmates to make free phone calls while they are incarcerated.
Vox questions how much of Warren’s plan could get Congressional approval. The article cites the years that it took Congress to pass the “fairly mild criminal justice reform bill” in the First Step Act.
If Warren is also pushing for passage of her many other proposals, Vox noted, that may reduce “the possibility that Congress even gets to sweeping criminal justice reform at all.”