Bernie Sanders promises to address ‘institutional racism’ in justice system ‘overhaul’

By Jon Dougherty

(NationalSentinel) Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose star is fading somewhat as the 2020 Democratic presidential sweepstakes heads into fall, is promising to overhaul the nation’s justice system with an eye toward rooting out alleged “institutional racism.”

On Sunday, Sanders claimed that the U.S. criminal justice system has been destroyed by rampant systemic racism and “corporate profiteering.” His plan would include freeing many people convicted of drug offenses while abolishing the death penalty and solitary confinement.

His plan would also promote an unarmed “civilian corps” that replaces local police for calls that are not serious in nature.

The objective of the plan is to keep people out of prison in the first place with a primary goal of halving the prison population. For anyone who remains behind bars, Sanders’ plan envisions better conditions with a focus on keeping inmates connected to society so they can reintegrate faster after release.

Sanders discussed his plan as he campaigned in South Carolina. He pushed the plan as an appeal to black voters who comprise a large plurality of the state’s Democratic primary voters.

“This is an issue of such significance and such volatility that we need to bring it out in the open,” Sanders told his audience.

Criminal justice reform could wind up being one of the hottest issues of the 2020 campaign, The Washington Times notes:

President Trump last year signed the First Step Act, which covers much of the same ground as Mr. Sanders, cutting drug sentences and offering new rehabilitative services for those in prison.

Meanwhile, the leading Democrat, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, has taken fire for his role in shepherding a get-tough bill in the Senate in the 1990s that surged police resources and stiffened sentences. Activists blame it for jailing a generation of black males amid drug-dealing violence.

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Mr. Sanders‘ plan is a complete reversal from that policy.

Other aspects of Sanders’ plan include lots of liberal wish-list items:

— Allowing inmates to vote

— Exonerating/expunging marijuana convictions

— Raise the level of drug use for any federal prosecutions

— Giving inmates access to taxpayer-supported scholarships

— “Unlimited” visits with friends and relatives

— Ban solitary confinement

— Pay “living wages” to inmates who perform labor

“No more profiteering from locking people up. If we stand together, we can end the disastrous ‘war on drugs,’” Sanders said. “If we stand together, we can end cash bail. No more keeping people in jail because they’re too poor. If we stand together, we can enact real police department reform and prosecute police brutality.”



The plan would certainly run up against opposition from the Justice Department and in police departments around the country, many of whom have argued against the ‘liberalization’ of law enforcement.

Just last week Attorney General William Barr noted in a speech to the Fraternal Order of Police in New Orleans that Left-wing criminal justice reform sweeping American cities was breeding disrespect for cops and creating more crime as Democrat prosecutors increasingly refuse to pursue charges for a host of crimes.

“That is the emergence in some of our large cities of District Attorneys that style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law,” he said.

“And when they do deign to charge a criminal suspect, they are frequently seeking sentences that are pathetically lenient. So these cities are headed back to the days of revolving door justice. The results will be predictable. More crime; more victims.”

As for Sanders’ plan, it wouldn’t have much reach. The Times notes that the vast majority of the 2.1 million people incarcerated around the country are in state and county facilities; just 10 percent make up the federal prison population.

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