Bloomberg proposes broad changes to criminal justice system amid scrutiny of his past comments on race and policing – WICZ

By Abby Phillip, CNN

Michael Bloomberg unveiled a suite of proposals on Tuesday aimed at addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system, reducing the prison population and investing in reintegration initiatives.

The policy rollout, which comes as the former New York mayor faces intense and renewed criticism for his past comments defending the implementation of “stop and frisk,” aims to cut the prison population in half by 2030, soften some federal drug and sentencing laws and fund community engagement and rehabilitation programs.

The policy plan puts Bloomberg in line with his Democratic primary rivals, most of whom released their plans months ago and included many of the same proposals. But its release, just one day before Bloomberg is set to take the debate stage for the first time in Nevada, comes as he is on the defense over his past comments on race and policing.

For the second time in the last year, Bloomberg apologized in a speech in Houston last week for his years of implementing defending “stop and frisk.” This latest apology came in the wake of the release of an audio recording from 2015, in which Bloomberg explicitly linked the targeting of minority youths with the controversial policing tactic that allowed officers to detain a person on any type of vague suspicion, search that individual without a warrant and arrest the person if any kind of illegal substance or weapon was found. The tactic drew widespread condemnation from minority communities in New York as discriminatory and ultimately ineffective.

Bloomberg does not explicitly mention stop and frisk in his plan released Tuesday, but he does propose several new policies that effectively serve as a repudiation of the practice that exploded in use by law enforcement in New York during his tenure.

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