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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden has released his criminal justice plan, which emphasizes the need to shift from incarceration to prevention.

Why it matters: Biden's record on criminal justice as a senator has faced scrutiny during his 2020 campaign. His backing of a controversial 1994 crime bill put him at odds with Democratic rivals and President Trump. This plan can help him rebrand himself on the issue, although senior Biden officials say he remains "fully prepared to talk about all of his record."

Details: Biden plans to overhaul several areas of the criminal justice system — including abolishing the death penalty, eliminating federal private prisons and ending cash bail. He would also stop mandatory minimums at the federal level and incentivize states to remove them. Other pledges include:

  • Expanding federal funding for mental health and substance abuse services.
  • Setting a goal of ensuring 100% of "formerly incarcerated individuals have housing upon reentry."
  • Expanding the Department of Justice's ability to address "systemic misconduct" in law enforcement and prosectors' offices.
  • Boosting investments in public defenders' offices.
  • Decriminalizing the use of marijuana and expunge all previous cannabis convictions.
  • Ending prison sentences for drug use alone and exerting clemency power for "individuals facing unduly long sentences for certain non-violent and drug crimes."

By the numbers: Biden plans to create a $20 billion grant program to help states amp up preventative measures. And he intends to invest $1 billion a year in juvenile justice reform.

What to watch: Per a statement by the Biden campaign, "In the months ahead, Biden will also detail his plan to tackle the public health epidemic of gun violence in America, starting with universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines."

Go deeper

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.

CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers

Rochelle Walensky listens during a confirmation hearing on July 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky on Friday reiterated her decision to go against a recommendation by a CDC advisory panel that refused to endorse booster shots for workers whose jobs put them at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

Driving the news: "Our healthcare systems are once again at maximum capacity in parts of the country, our teachers are facing uncertainty as they walk into the classroom," Walensky said at a Friday briefing. "I must do what I can to preserve the health across our nation."