Biden was pilloried for his criminal justice record. During his presidency, advocates expect change.
As President-elect Joe Biden prepares his transition into the White House, he is facing mounting expectations to bring about sweeping change on criminal justice reform.
As the author of the 1994 crime bill, which was credited in part as ushering in a wave of mass incarceration of mostly Black men, and a vocal proponent of harsh policies during the “war on drugs” era, Biden has a long and often-criticized record on the issue.
He is also coming into power after his predecessor President Donald Trump signed into law one of the most significant changes to the federal criminal justice system in the 21st century. The First Step Act was the result of a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, civil rights groups, and grassroots activists. Experts said it was a monumental step forward after years of criminal justice reform and “tough on crime” policies being used as a political cudgel in Washington.