Criminal Justice Reform
Mike believes the U.S. must reduce its incarceration rate and address the failings of a criminal-justice system that disproportionately harms communities of color. Keeping people out of the criminal justice system was a top priority for Mike as mayor of New York City, and he proved that it’s possible to have less crime, less incarceration, and less recidivism. He worked with law enforcement and community leaders to drive down crime by 32% and murders by half, and he reduced incarceration by nearly 40%, even as incarceration rates rose in the rest of the country. In the White House, Mike will work for safer communities and a fair criminal justice system, and end the era of mass incarceration once and for all.
- There are more than 2 million people incarcerated in the U.S. – far more than any other developed nation. Almost two-thirds are African-American or Latino.
- The U.S. government spends about $80 billion a year on incarceration – more than the entire budget of the Department of Education.
- Almost half of formerly incarcerated Americans – 43% – wind up back behind bars at some point.
- The unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people is 27% – more than six times the current national unemployment rate.
- Sentencing Reform: Mike supports the First Step Act but he believes that Washington can go further. The Justice Department should provide incentives for states to experiment with and evaluate the impact of shorter sentences.
- Prison Reform: Our criminal justice system is failing to help people get their lives back on track. Recidivism rates are far too high and prisons are overcrowded and unsafe. Mike will push to expand alternative-to-incarceration programs that have a proven record of success, based on his work in New York City. He’ll expand drug treatment, mental health services, and re-entry and career-training for people who are incarcerated. He will restore access to Pell Grant funding for incarcerated individuals, allowing them to pay for post-secondary education while in prison. And he’ll lower barriers to hiring for public employee and government contractor positions so that job applicants are not asked about their criminal records until after they receive a conditional offer.
- Bail Reform: Americans are spending almost $10 billion a year to incarcerate people who are awaiting trial – in other words, who haven’t yet been convicted of a crime. Many have been granted bail but can’t afford to pay. At the same time, African Americans and Latinos are less likely to be granted bail, which is the definition of injustice. Mike supports reform efforts that aim to reduce or eliminate cash bail for non-violent offenders.
- Juvenile Justice Reform: There are more than 50,000 young people in confinement away from their homes. Close to 17,000 of them are being held for low-level, non-violent crimes, and 6,000 are being held before even being convicted. Mike will launch a nationwide initiative to cut imprisonment of young people in half by the end of his first term and eliminate juvenile incarceration for all non-violent offenders.
- Alternatives to Incarceration: Mike pioneered new alternatives to incarceration that helped reduce the number of people behind bars by nearly 40% in New York City, even as incarceration rates rose nationwide.
- Juvenile Justice Initiative: Mike launched the Juvenile Justice Initiative, which cut the number of at-risk youths detained by half and reduced violent felony recidivism by 29%.
- Community Programs: Mike boosted funding for innovative, community-based interventions to reduce recidivism. He expanded addiction treatment options, community supervision to help lower-risk offenders move off probation, and post- incarceration employment programs to help formerly incarcerated individuals get back on their feet..
Safe communities and a fair justice system.
Under Mike’s leadership, New York City was the safest big city in America. During his time as mayor, he worked with law enforcement and community leaders to drive down crime to record lows while also reducing recidivism and incarceration rates. As president, Mike will bring this same approach to the White House, working for safer communities and a fair criminal justice system.
- Under Mike, crime in New York City fell by more than 32%, far outpacing the nation.
- Mike cut murders in half, to a record low. During Mike’s twelve years as mayor, there were 9,285 fewer murders than in the previous twelve years.
- Mike introduced new alternatives to incarceration that helped reduce the number of people behind bars by 39%, even as incarceration rates increased overall in the rest of the country.
- Mike has led the fight against illegal guns in the United States, both as mayor of New York City and as the co-founder of the bipartisan coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns – which joined with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in April, 2014, to form Everytown for Gun Safety.
- Mike led the successful charge to allow juvenile offenders to stay in their communities and continue their education, ending the practice of sending young people convicted of offenses to detention facilities outside of the city.
- Mike’s administration introduced risk assessment and other community-based alternatives to detention for juvenile offenders, reducing the number of low-risk youth detained by 63% and reducing recidivism by 23%.