Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Capitol Insurrection Complicates Biden’s Plans for Criminal Justice Reform

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Image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Biden has long promised to to heal the country of its deep divisions. That task seems even more arduous after the coup attempt in Washington.

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Last week’s insurrection at the Capitol highlighted America’s mounting problem of white supremacist, far-right extremism. The event also underscored longstanding issues with policing and law enforcement. Many were quick to point out the disparity in police response at the Capitol and during BLM protests this summer.

The country is deeply divided and facing huge concerns around policing, racism and the justice system. President-elect Joe Biden will be tasked with addressing these issues at the outset of his term. How will the Biden administration address matters of social justice and how has the mob violence at the Capitol impacted his policy plans? 

Listen: Biden’s plan for criminal and social justice reform. 


Tim Craig, a national reporter with the Washington Post, has been looking into the Biden administration’s prospective social and criminal justice policies. He says that last week’s insurrection at the Capitol has shifted Biden’s campaign promise to heal the soul of the nation into a broader and more dangerous posture. “Biden is faced with trying to quell extremism on the right as well as trying to heal the nation,” says Craig.

Biden, according to Craig, has typically been considered a moderate or conservative on law enforcement policy. “I don’t think Biden is that comfortable talking about cutting police funding… he was forced there over the summer because of BLM… and he didn’t want to appear vulnerable with the base of Democratic party… He now has to navigate that,” says Craig.

He adds that Biden tapping Merrick Garland as Attorney General signals a move back to an Obama-era justice department. “I think he will take a harder line when it comes investigating police depts for civil rights investigations, but I also think he’s going to govern as a more moderate Attorney General,” says Craig of Garland. 

Web story written by Clare Brennan.

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