Biden says drug users should not be jailed as he admits crime bill was a mistake at town hall

(Independent)
(Independent)

When asked whether it was a mistake to support a 1994 law that set harsher penalties for drug possession, Joe Biden agreed that it was, as he outlined a vision for community-driven police reform and stressed that drug users should be rehabilitated, not imprisoned.

“I don’t believe anyone should be going to drug courts for drug use,” the Democratic presidential candidate said during a town hall on ABC.

He has previously called his support for the legislation a “big mistake" during a January 2019 event before he announced his candidacy in the 2020 race.

The former vice president, who in the 1990s authored the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act while a US senator from Delaware, said people with records for marijuana possession should have their records cleared and that the US should instead build “rehab centres to have people housed."

He also proposed a “national study group” to bring together police representatives and community leaders from Black communities to reform law enforcement.

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“We shouldn’t be defunding police officers,” he said. "We should be mandating the things that we should be doing within police departments.”

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