Elizabeth Warren releases plan to reduce mass incarceration rates in U.S.

By Zak Hudak

/ CBS News

Elizabeth Warren released a plan Tuesday aimed at reducing the inequities in the criminal justice system, ahead of a roundtable on the topic in Minneapolis.

"It's not equal justice when a kid with an ounce of pot can get thrown in jail, while a bank executive who launders money for a drug cartel can get a bonus," she wrote in a post on the site Medium. "It's long past time for us to reform our system."

The Massachusetts senator proposes reducing incarceration rates with a range of strategies, including increasing support for at-risk students in schools, tackling their academic readiness, providing them with health care access and giving schools resources to train school staff in more positive approaches to addressing students' behavior problems.

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Warren also has ideas to help the incarcerated as they exit the prison system, including a boost for rehabilitation services while prisoners are serving their time. And her plan includes several measures to revamp policing to use less violence and stem discrimination. She also promises to strengthen public defenders and rein in prosecutorial abuses.

According to Warren campaign press secretary Saloni Sharma, Warren's pan will "reimagine how we talk and think about public safety in this country."

"It is a false choice to suggest a tradeoff between safety and mass incarceration. We should spend our budgets on community services that lift people up, not imprisonment. That's how we can de-carcerate and make our communities safer," Sharma said in a statement.

Legislatively, Warren says she would push to repeal the 1994 crime bill, a jab at former Vice President Joe Biden, who authored it, and at progressive rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, who voted for it.

Warren's plan comes just two days after Sanders', and there's a lot of overlap between the Senate colleagues.

Sanders and Warren both support safe injection sites. They'd both try to do away with solitary confinement, cash bail and the death penalty. There are some differences between the two, however. Sanders wants to legalize marijuana, while Warren favors decriminalizing it.

Sanders also first said months ago that incarcerated felons should be able to vote. Warren, however, has yet to match him there with her newest plan.

First published on August 20, 2019 / 11:19 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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