Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders listens to a question for the audience during the Presidential Gun Sense Forum, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Sanders' criminal justice plan aims to cut prison population

August 18, 2019 - 9:34 am

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is proposing a criminal justice overhaul that aims to cut the nation's prison population in half, end mandatory minimum sentencing, ban private prisons and legalize marijuana.

He says the current system does not fairly treat people of color, addicts or the mentally ill.

If elected president, Sanders says he'd abolish mandatory minimum sentencing, end the "three strikes law" and expand the use of alternative sentencing.

The plan would legalize marijuana and expunge previous marijuana convictions, and end a cash bail system that Sanders says keeps hundreds of thousands who have not been convicted of a crime languishing in jail because they cannot afford bail.

On capital punishment, Sanders' plan formalizes his call to end the federal death penalty and urges states to eliminate the punishment.