COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is proposing a criminal justice overhaul that aims to reduce the nation’s prison population in half, finish mandatory minimum sentencing, ban private prisons and legalize marijuana. He says the existing program does not relatively treat persons of colour, addicts or the mentally ill.

“We have a program that imprisons and destroys the lives of millions of persons,” Sanders told The Related Press ahead of the planned released of his proposal Sunday. “It’s racist in disproportionately affecting the African American and Latino communities, and it is a program that demands basic adjust.”

Sanders was advertising the strategy in the course of a weekend of campaigning in South Carolina, exactly where the majority of the Democratic electorate is African American. The Vermont senator, who won the assistance of some younger black Democrats in the course of the 2016 major, has stepped up his references to racial disparities, especially in the course of stops in the South and urban places.

As president, Sanders stated he would abolish mandatory minimum sentencing and reinstate a federal parole program, finish the “three strikes law” and expand the use of option sentencing, such as neighborhood supervision and halfway homes. The aim is to cut down the prison population by 1-half.

“A extremely considerable quantity of persons who are behind bars right now are dealing with 1 type or yet another of illness,” Sanders stated. “These need to be treated as wellness problems, not from a criminal point of view.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness , two million persons with mental illness are booked into jails annually.

Taking aim at what his proposal calls “for-profit prison profiteering,” Sanders would ban private prisons, make prison telephone calls and other inmate communications totally free, and audit prison commissaries for price tag gouging and costs.

The strategy would legalize marijuana and expunge earlier marijuana convictions, and finish a money bail program that Sanders says keeps hundreds of thousands who have not been convicted of a crime languishing in jail mainly because they can not afford bail.

“Can you think that, in the year 2019, 400,000 persons are in jail awaiting a trial mainly because they are poor?” Sanders stated. “That is a moral outrage, it is a legal outrage.”

According to the Prison Policy Initiative , extra than 460,000 persons are becoming held in regional jails about the nation when they await trial, with a median bail quantity of $10,000 for felony offenses.

Sanders desires to enhance relations among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. To do that, he proposes to finish federal applications that present military gear to regional police forces, establish federal requirements for the use of physique cameras, present bias coaching and need that the Justice Division assessment all officer-involved shootings.

“You have a lot of resentment in minority communities all more than this nation, who see police forces not as an asset but as an invading force,” Sanders stated.

On capital punishment, Sanders’ strategy formalizes his contact to finish the federal death penalty and urges states to do away with the punishment as nicely.

“When we speak about violence in society and attempting to decrease the levels of violence, it is not acceptable that the state itself is aspect of capital punishment,” Sanders stated.

Sanders stated that more than the extended term, his strategy will save the public income mainly because of reductions to all round incarceration fees.

“It will price income but it will spend for itself several, several instances more than,” Sanders stated. “Locking persons up is extremely, extremely costly.”