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The Biden Administration has a significant opportunity to advance racial justice nationwide by dismantling tough-on-crime policies that have packed prisons and disproportionately harmed Black, Indigenous, and people of color, according to a new paper by CJI team members Joshua Branch, Gracie Burger, and Celeste Gander.

In the paper, published by the Project on State and Local Government Policy and Law at Georgetown Law, Branch, Burger, and Gander offer a roadmap for the new administration to address the negative impacts of mass incarceration that followed the passage of the 1994 crime bill. Bolstered by historically high public support for reform, the Biden Administration should incentivize state and local jurisdictions to invest in efforts to shrink prison populations and reduce recidivism, they write.

Opportunities for smart-on-crime policies that federal officials can support at the state and local levels include reducing sentence lengths, restructuring the use of pretrial detention, curbing debt-based driver’s license suspensions, and investing in support for individuals reentering communities after incarceration.