House Progressives To Introduce Radical Criminal Justice Reform Bill

( A progressive bill created to overhaul the United States’ criminal justice system in a radical way is being backed by two progressive Democrats in the House.

Representatives Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both members of the ultra-progressive “squad” in the House, have backed the bill, which is being called the BREATHE Act. The bill would, among other things, end federal funding for police, disband both the ICE and DEA, strip other federal law enforcement agencies down to the bone and “develop a time-bound plan to close all federal prisons.”

The bill would also create new grants programs that could be spent on pilot programs for a universal basic income, reparations for prostitutes and school curriculum that would be focused on “colonialism.”

While the BREATHE Act hasn’t been written up just yet, if it does in fact include some of these reported items, it would unlikely pass through a full membership of the House and/or the Senate.

However, the support that it’s receiving from members of the “squad” could push for more radical overhauls of criminal justice system than are being conjured up by the more moderate wing of the Democratic Party. Presumptive presidential candidate Joe Biden has shown a willingness to embrace some of the more progressive people in his party, which could lead to him at least listening to what they have to say on more radical change.

The summary of the BREATHE Act was released by Movement for Black Lives, a social justice umbrella organization. Overall, the bill seeks a complete overhaul of federal funding that is being used for law enforcement. This includes funds that are currently being used for policing hiring and school security officers.

The bill also calls for the complete dissolution of federal agencies such as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration. It would also cut large swaths of funding from the budget of the Department of Defense.

In terms of programs and policing actions, the BREATHE Act would end laws such as mandatory minimums, life sentences as well as “three strikes.” It would repeal “federal laws that criminalize human movement and border entry,” meaning it would legalize people freely moving across America’s borders. It would also ban programs such as facial recognition and tools law enforcement uses for predictive policing.

The bill would also seek to have the federal government take control of some state laws, which would likely face significant constitutional challenges. These sections in question would include “repealing all existing State juvenile offenses.”

The bill’s answer to criminal justice in the absence of incarceration and police funding would be “alternatives” such as violence mediation and interruption programs. The BREATHE Act reportedly also will include programs such as “reparations for mass criminalization” that include “the criminalization of prostitution” and “border violence.”

House Democrats as a whole have focused on wider-sweeping criminal justice reform that aren’t as progressive and aggressive. Those are the ones likely to stand a chance of actually passing into law, although the influence from the progressives could sneak its way into Biden’s platform.