Where 2020 Democrats stand on
criminal justice

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Do you support the federal legalization of recreational marijuana?

Yes, legalize it federally

Yes, legalize it federally

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“Yes. I support removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances, automatically expunging the convictions of those who have served federal time for marijuana use and possession offenses, and reinvesting in low-income and minority communities who have been disproportionately affected by decades of failed drug policy,” Bennet told The Post. “I also support policies to ensure companies in states where marijuana is currently legal can access the banking system. As a former school superintendent in a state that has legalized marijuana, I am also focused on policies to ensure young people do not have access to it as their brains develop.” Bennet co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Pete Buttigieg

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg supports the federal legalization of recreational marijuana, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

“The failed war on drugs is an attack on our values of freedom and fairness as Americans,” Gabbard's campaign website said. “In recent years, many states have taken initiative by legalizing marijuana, reforming drug laws and sentencing guidelines, and winding down the “War on Drugs.” Now it’s time for the federal government to do its part.” Gabbard co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar supports federal legalization or recreational marijuana, a campaign spokesperson confirmed to The Post. Klobuchar previously told The Post that she supports “legalization of marijuana and believes that states should have the right to determine the best approach to marijuana within their borders.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Deval Patrick

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick supports the federal legalization of recreational marijuana, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“Yes. [Sanders] will take executive action to legalize marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, expunge past convictions of marijuana-related offenses and ensure that victims of the War on Drugs are not passed over by the burgeoning marijuana industry,” a Sanders campaign spokesperson told The Post. “The criminalization of marijuana was a disaster, especially for African Americans and communities of color. We will ensure that revenue from marijuana is reinvested in communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs.” Sanders co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer supports the federal legalization of recreational marijuana, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“Yes. I support the full legalization of marijuana and restorative justice for those unjustly jailed for minor marijuana crimes,” Warren told The Post. “We should delist marijuana as a Schedule I drug. I’ve also introduced legislation to keep the federal government from interfering in states that have legalized marijuana -- medical or recreational. And I support bringing marijuana businesses into the banking system and the tax system.” Warren co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“Yes. Marijuana is now legal for adult use in 11 states and the District of Columbia, and 33 states have legalized medical marijuana in some form. Yet, thousands of Americans are locked away due to marijuana-related offenses,” a Yang campaign spokesperson told The Post. “To resolve ambiguity and end the incarceration of majiuana users, we must legalize marijuana at the federal level, especially since we can’t seem to enforce our current laws in a non-racist manner.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “End the federal prohibition on marijuana and automatically expunge the records of those convicted on charges of marijuana use and possession,” Booker's Next Step criminal justice plan said. He introduced the Marijuana Justice Act.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. Williamson supports the federal legalization of recreational marijuana, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Decriminalize and let states decide on legalization

Decriminalize and let states decide on legalization

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“Biden believes no one should be in jail because of cannabis use,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “As president, he will decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior cannabis convictions. And, he will support the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, leave decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states and reschedule cannabis as a schedule II drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Mike Bloomberg

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg supports decriminalizing marijuana and allowing states to decide on legalization, he told The Post. “In 2017, 72,000 Americans OD'd on drugs. In 2018, more people than that are ODing on drugs, have OD'd on drugs, and today incidentally, we are trying to legalize another addictive narcotic, which is perhaps the stupidest thing we've ever done,” Bloomberg said at a January 2019 event. “We've got to fight that, and that's another thing that Bloomberg philanthropies will work on in public health.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I support removing marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, and I will direct federal prosecutors to review past cases and petition courts to expunge criminal records related to minor, non-violent marijuana offenses like simple possession,” Delaney told The Post. “I would put in place a federal regulatory structure for recreational marijuana and let states make their own decisions about legalization.” His campaign confirmed that he supports decriminalizing marijuana and allowing states to decide on legalization.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

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One of the only instances of major bipartisan cooperation in President Trump’s first term was the First Step Act, which Democratic and Republican lawmakers supported and Trump signed into law at the end of 2018. Democrats applauded the new law, but want to see additional legislation to address police use of force and overhaul the nation’s prison system.

Several candidates have embraced former presidential candidate and Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize marijuana federally and expunge the records of individuals imprisoned on pot-related charges. Former vice president Joe Biden prefers to leave legalization up to the states, but argues for decriminalizing the drug, meaning users could not be arrested for possessing it.

Most support eliminating mandatory minimums in federal sentencing and ending the use of privately run prison facilities, but there is some disagreement on whether individuals should be able to vote while incarcerated.

Where the candidates stand

Here’s where the candidates stand on criminal justice policy based on their statements, voting records and answers to a questionnaire that was sent to every campaign.

Question 2 of 7

Yes, all

Yes, all incarcerated people

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“When we look at the shameful history of why our country has banned incarcerated people from voting, we must understand that voter suppression and the efforts to rob citizens of voting rights is part of the legacy of slavery and racist attitudes post-Jim Crow,” a Sanders campaign spokesperson told The Post. Sanders “believes if you've committed a crime and you're in jail, you're paying a price. But you're still a member of American society, which means voting is still your right.” When asked about voting rights for previously incarcerated people, Sanders said, "if people have paid their debt to society, they deserve the right to vote," Sanders told The Post. He co-sponsored the Voter Empowerment Act of 2019 which guarantees formerly incarcerated individuals the right to vote.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Yes, some

Yes, some incarcerated people

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“Yes. [Yang] supports restoring voting rights for previously incarcerated individuals and currently incarcerated individuals who haven’t prevented someone else from losing their ability to vote,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. Yang previously told The Post, “I believe in restoring federal voting rights to all formerly incarcerated people. They served their time, and they are citizens; they should be able to vote."

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “Do I think nonviolent drug offenders who are over-incarcerated should be able to vote in prison? Those folks, yes,” Booker told the Huffington Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Once they are released

After they are released

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“I support restoring voting rights to the millions of Americans who have already served their time and immediately upon release for people currently in prison,” Bennet told The Post. He co-sponsored the Senate's version of the For the People Act, which would restore voting rights for formerly incarcerated people, among other reforms.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“My administration will incentivize states to automatically restore voting rights for individuals convicted of felonies once they have served their sentences,” Biden told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Mike Bloomberg

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg supports restoring voting rights for formerly incarcerated people, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Mike Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Pete Buttigieg

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“No. [Buttigieg] will restore the right to vote for all formerly incarcerated people immediately upon release from confinement as part of the 21st Century Voting Rights Act,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “This would not be contingent on any payment of fines, fees, or the completion of supervised release.” A spokesperson previously told The Post that Buttigieg “believes that as soon as someone is released, without any red tape, without any costs, they should be able to vote.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I do not support allowing people who are currently serving felony prison sentences to vote, but voting rights should be restored automatically to every person convicted of a felony upon their release from prison,” Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard supports restoring voting rights for formerly incarcerated people, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar supports voting rights for formerly incarcerated people, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Deval Patrick

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick supports restoring voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals, a campaign spokesperson told The Post. His democracy agenda pledged to “work with states and Congress to restore voting rights to citizens who have served out their sentence and returned to society, and keep that engagement up to ensure that restoration actually happens, and happens quickly.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer supports restoring voting rights for formerly incarcerated people, but not for individuals while incarcerated, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“I’m open to this conversation,” Warren told The Post. “But I think we should start by restoring the right to vote for everyone who is formerly incarcerated. Once someone pays their debt to society, they’re expected to pay taxes, expected to abide by the law, they’re expected to support themselves and their families, I think that means they’ve got a right to vote.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. “Felons should be allowed to vote after they have served their sentence,” Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

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Background Democratic candidates broadly support voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals, but only a few support allowing people to vote while incarcerated.

Question 3 of 7

Yes

Yes

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports a federal police use of force standard, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Pete Buttigieg

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“Yes. [Buttigieg] will promote legislation that raises the legal standard under which officers are justified to use lethal force, and offer incentives for states and localities to adopt more restrictive policies,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “[Buttigieg] will also promote policies and training that require de-escalation efforts and limit lethal force to circumstances in which it is absolutely necessary.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Deval Patrick

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick supports a federal police use of force standard, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“Yes. As president, [Sanders] will establish national standards for use of force by police that emphasize de-escalation,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “We must hold police to a standard that ends harmful practices like racial profiling, stop and frisk, oppressive 'broken windows' policing, and the militarization of police forces — all of which actively undermine public safety and community trust in law enforcement. Excessive force and deadly shootings of unarmed civilians undermines public trust in the police.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

“Yes. America’s criminal justice system perpetuates a system of mass incarceration and punishment, not rehabilitation and restorative justice. This system was built on — and still suffers from — rampant racism,” Steyer told The Post. “The federal government needs to track and investigate deaths that occur in police custody. When police officers are breaking the law, they too must be prosecuted. We need to have a zero-tolerance policy for abuses of power. We need more effective training for police officers that is guided by an evidence-based national standard for the use of force, and incorporates proven strategies like de-escalation, verbal warnings, and non lethal alternatives, comprehensive cross-cultural communications, and greater diversity in policing departments.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“Yes. I will direct my administration to develop and apply evidence-based standards for the use of force for federal law enforcement, incorporating proven approaches and strategies like de-escalation, verbal warning requirements and the use of non-lethal alternatives,” Warren told The Post. “I’ll work with local law enforcement agencies to ensure that training and technology deployed at the federal level can be implemented at all levels of government, and reverse the Sessions guidance limiting the use of consent decree investigations to increase.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. “Yes. Police culture in this country needs to be changed,” Williamson told The Post. “Police are permitted to go too quickly to the use of lethal force, compared to many other developed countries. We need more training, so police are more careful about whether and when to use lethal force.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Something else

Something else

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I support increased federal funding for police-training programs to encourage de-escalation and prevent racial profiling, as well as increased funding for police body cameras,” Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

Yang does not support a federal police use of force standard, but “would create federal guidelines that localities could adopt, while providing federal funding for local law enforcement agencies to participate in de-escalation, mental health, and LGBTQ+ competency-training courses, as well as funding for body cameras for all officers,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“All police departments should have uniform use-of-force policy, regularly train officers in de-escalation and ensure ranks reflect the communities they serve,” Biden told The Post. His campaign did not clarify if he supported a national use of force standard by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Mike Bloomberg

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. Booker has introduced legislation to require law enforcement agencies to report use of force incidents. He did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

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Background There were 950 people shot and killed by police in 2019, including 42 who were unarmed, according to a Post database of police shootings maintained since 2015. Standards for police conduct are largely set by the states and incident reporting to the federal government is limited. Some Democrats want to create a federal code of conduct for police and use federal funding to encourage adoption.

Question 4 of 7

Yes

Yes

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet believes the federal government should stop using private prisons, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“Biden will end the federal government’s use of private prisons, building off an Obama-Biden administration policy rescinded by the Trump administration,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “And, he will make clear that the federal government should not use private facilities for any detention, including detention of undocumented immigrants. Biden will also make eliminating private prisons and all other methods of profiteering off of incarceration – including diversion programs, commercial bail and electronic monitoring – a requirement for his new state and local prevention grant program. Finally, Biden will support the passage of legislation to crack down on the practice of private companies charging incarcerated individuals and their families outrageously high fees to make calls.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Pete Buttigieg

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg believes the federal government should stop using private prisons, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney believes the federal government should stop using private prisons, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Mar. 29: “We must stand up against for-profit, private prisons and a criminal justice system that favors the rich and powerful and punishes the poor, locking up people who smoke marijuana and ignoring corps like Purdue Pharma responsible for thousands of opioid-related deaths. ”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar believes the federal government should stop using private prisons, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Deval Patrick

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick believes the federal government should stop using private prisons, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“Yes. When [Sanders] is president, we will ban private prisons including at the state and local level and end for-profit greed in our criminal justice system, including ending for-profit detention centers and cash bail,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “[Sanders] will make prison and jail communications, re-entry, diversion and treatment programs fee-free. We’ll incentivize states and localities to end police departments’ reliance on fines and fees and withhold funding to states that continue the profiteering of private prisons.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer believes the federal government should stop using private prisons, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“Yes. There should be no place in America for profiting off putting more people behind bars or in detention,” Warren told The Post. “That’s why I will shut down the use of federal private detention facilities by ending all contracts that the Bureau of Prisons, ICE and the U.S. Marshals Service have with private detention providers. I will extend these bans to states and localities by conditioning their receipt of federal public safety funding on their use of public facilities.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“Yes. No one should be profiting off of incarceration, as it creates incentives against rehabilitation,” a Yang campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “The decrease in the federal prison population presents the Bureau of Prisons with a unique opportunity to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, its use of private prisons,” Booker wrote to Attorney General William P. Barr in November 2019. “We strongly urge you to return to the previous policy that would phase out for-profit private prisons and assure Congress that the Department of Justice is a committed partner in criminal justice reform.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. Williamson believes the federal government should stop using private prisons, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Mike Bloomberg

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg

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Background The federal government began contracting with privately run facilities in 1997 to house a growing prison population. Democrats take issue with companies profiting from incarceration, which they argue incentivizes imprisonment and cost cutting at the facilities. Private prisons experience more safety and security issues compared to government-run ones, according to a 2016 Justice Department inspector general’s report.

Ten percent of federal inmates were housed at facilities managed by private companies as of Jan. 10. Larger shares of some state prison populations were housed in private facilities as of 2017, according to the Sentencing Project, and some candidates have said that as president they would also pressure states to abandon private facilities.

Question 5 of 7

Yes

Yes

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports eliminating mandatory minimums in federal sentencing, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“Yes. Biden supports an end to mandatory minimums at both the federal and state levels,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “As president, he will work for the passage of legislation to repeal mandatory minimums at the federal level. And, he will give states incentives to repeal their mandatory minimums.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Pete Buttigieg

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg supports eliminating mandatory minimums in federal sentencing, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney supports eliminating mandatory minimums in federal sentencing, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard has pledged to end mandatory minimum sentencing.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar supports eliminating mandatory minimums in federal sentencing, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Deval Patrick

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick supports eliminating mandatory minimums in federal sentencing, a campaign spokesperson told The Post. "I think that minimum mandatory sentencing needs a huge overhaul," Patrick said at a New Hampshire event.

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“Yes. [Sanders] will end mandatory minimum sentencing,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “Today, the U.S. imprisons people at a higher rate than any other nation, in no small part due to extremely harsh sentencing policies and the War on Drugs. Bernie will stop excessive sentences with the goal of cutting the incarcerated population in half. We will expand the use of restorative justice and sentencing alternatives, including community supervision and publicly funded halfway houses.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

“Yes. I've worked in California to get rid of automatic sentence enhancements, where if someone has a prior, they automatically get time added to their next sentence,” Steyer told The Post. “We got rid of that, and we pushed on it because it's a question of, Don't we need more judge discretion? And all of these mandatory minimums and automatic sentences are very harsh and inhumane and actually lead to people serving much longer sentences than what a judge would assign.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“Yes. The federal prison population has grown dramatically in the past decades, driven in large part by rules requiring mandatory minimum sentences and other excessively long sentencing practices. These harsh sentencing practices are not only immoral, there’s little evidence that they are effective,” Warren told The Post. “Congress should reduce or eliminate the mandatory minimums provisions of the 1994 crime bill, and give judges more flexibility in sentencing decisions, with the goal of reducing incarceration to mid-1990s levels.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“Yes. Judges should be free to take the situation as a whole into account when considering charges,” a Yang campaign spokesperson told The Post. “Mandatory minimums put pressure on defendants to accept plea bargains they wouldn’t otherwise, and are unfair between different crimes.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “End harsh mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses,” Booker's criminal justice plan said. His Next Step criminal justice proposal pledges to “reduce harsh mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses: the 20-year mandatory minimum would be reduced to 10 years, the 10-year mandatory minimum would be reduced to 5 years, and the 5-year mandatory minimum would be reduced to 2 years.” A campaign spokesperson confirmed Booker supports eliminating mandatory minimums.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. “Yes. I want to end federal mandatory sentencing,” Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Mike Bloomberg

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg “supports the First Step Act but he believes that Washington can go further. The Justice Department should provide incentives for states to experiment with and evaluate the impact of shorter sentences,” his criminal justice plan said. He did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg

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Background Amid the “War on Drugs,” the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 established minimum sentences for drug possession, including a five-year minimum for five grams of crack. About 45 percent of federal inmates were imprisoned on drug offenses as of Jan.10, according to the Bureau of Prisons. The First Step Act eased some mandatory minimums, but Democrats argue they should be further reduced or eliminated altogether.

Question 6 of 7

Pause all deportations

Pause all deportations

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders's Nov. 2019 immigration plan said he would "institute a moratorium on deportations until a thorough audit of past practices and policies is complete." He previously told The Post he would support focusing deportation efforts on dangerous individuals. “I strongly opposed major portions of President Obama’s deportation policy, including raids on families who fled violence,” Sanders said in April 2019. ”Today, we are seeing border crossings largely due to families and children seeking relief from violence and misery in their home countries, and we must stand up for our ideals and values by expanding our asylum process.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Focus only on criminals and national security threats

Focus only on criminals and national security threats

Mike Bloomberg

Former New York mayor

Bloomberg supports focusing deportation efforts on criminals and national security threats, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Mike Bloomberg
Bloomberg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I believe the most efficient use of our resources is to focus our efforts on individuals who are identified national security threats and convicted criminals,” Delaney told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar would support focusing deportation efforts on criminals and national security threats, her campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Deval Patrick

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick would support focusing deportation efforts on criminals and national security threats, his campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

“I would support focusing deportation efforts on convicted criminals and national security threats,” Steyer told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

Warren supports focusing deportation efforts on criminals and national security threats, her campaign told The Post. In her immigration plan, Warren pledges to “refocus our limited resources on actual criminals and real threats to the United States.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “I support prioritizing deportation efforts on convicted criminals and national security threats,” Booker told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. “Support. The Dreamers who have grown up here, received an education and are good neighbors with no serious criminal offense should be allowed to stay,” Williamson told The Post. “This is their home – and we need their talent, ingenuity and purchasing power for our economy to thrive. I would work to expand protections and naturalization to all undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children, regardless of their current age.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Yes, focus on those groups

Yes, focus on those groups

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“We must be humane about immigration enforcement, but we must do it in a way that honors our tradition as a nation of immigrants and our commitment to the rule of law,” Bennet told The Post. “We need to fix our broken immigration system to encourage individuals to go through the process legally, which includes processing asylum claims more efficiently and addressing the visa backlog.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Pete Buttigieg

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“We need to reinstate enforcement priorities,” Buttigieg told The Post. “The vast majority of immigrants in our country without [legal] status pose no public safety threat; in fact, most have been here a decade or more and have deep community ties. Without a clear priority on removal of people who pose a danger to the community or on recent arrivals, the random enforcement of immigration laws can become a tool to instill fear and to rip apart families.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“Yes, I would focus deportation efforts on these groups,” Yang told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

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Background President Barack Obama’s approach to deportation became a major point of division within the Democratic Party after his reelection in 2012. At the end of 2014, Obama responded to the concerns by imposing new guidelines that prioritized the deportation of recent border crossers, convicted criminals and those posing national security threats. But in the 2016 election, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders argued for even more lenient guidelines that would focus on violent or dangerous criminals.

Question 7 of 7

Yes

Yes

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports a federal red-flag law, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Mike Bloomberg

Former New York mayor

“Pass a federal red flag law that expands extreme risk orders to 50 states — and funds state efforts to maximize the policy,” Bloomberg's gun-safety plan said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Pete Buttigieg

Former mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg supports a federal red-flag law, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney supports a federal red-flag law, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar supports a federal red-flag law, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Deval Patrick

Former governor, Massachusetts

Patrick supports a federal red-flag law, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Deval Patrick
Patrick

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“Yes. [Sanders] supports legislation to ensure we keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers and “red flag” laws such as the one in place in Vermont, which allows for temporary removal of firearms from those deemed by a state court a danger to themselves or others,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer supports a federal red-flag law, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“Yes. Congress should pass a federal extreme risk law and create a grant system to incentivize states to enact their own laws that clearly define extreme risk,” Warren told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“Yes. Those who are a verifiable risk to themselves or others should not have access to firearms,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Marianne Williamson (Dropped out)

Author

Williamson is no longer running for president. Williamson supports a federal red-flag law, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Encourage states to pass them

Encourage states to pass them

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“Yes. Biden will incentivize state 'extreme risk' laws,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “Extreme risk laws, also called 'red flag' laws, enable family members or law enforcement officials to temporarily remove an individual’s access to firearms when that individual is in crisis and poses a danger to themselves or others. Biden will incentivize the adoption of these laws by giving states funds to implement them. And, he’ll direct the U.S. Department of Justice to issue best practices and offer technical assistance to states interested in enacting an extreme risk law.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker is no longer running for president. “An extreme risk protection order (ERPO) empowers family members or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from individuals showing warning signs of hurting themselves or others,” Booker's gun-safety plan said. “[Booker] will incentivize states to pass ERPO laws, along with robust due process protections.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

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Background Seventeen states and the District have adopted “red-flag” laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders, that allow courts to temporarily block access to guns for individuals deemed mentally unfit following a petition from family members or law enforcement. Supporters say the laws have been used to preempt mass shootings and suicides where they have been implemented.

President Trump backed a federal “red-flag” law following mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, but quietly abandoned it. A September 2019 Washington Post-ABC News poll found 86 percent of the public favors such a law.

States that have adopted “red-flag” laws

Has adopted “red-flag” law

Has not

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

States that have adopted “red-flag” laws

Has adopted “red-flag” law

Has not

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

States that have adopted “red-flag” laws

Has adopted “red-flag” law

Has not

ME

VT

NH

AK

WI

WA

ID

MT

ND

MN

IL

MI

NY

MA

OR

NV

WY

SD

IA

IN

OH

PA

NJ

CT

RI

CA

UT

CO

NE

MO

KY

WV

VA

MD

DE

AZ

NM

KS

AR

TN

NC

SC

DC

LA

MS

AL

GA

HI

OK

TX

FL

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Kevin Schaul contributed to this report.

How candidate positions were compiled

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic presidential campaign asking whether it supports various changes to U.S. criminal justice policy. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role, and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports and surveys. See something we missed? Let us know.

This page will update as we learn more about the candidates’ plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president. If a candidate dropped out after a question was published here, their stance is included under the "Show former candidates" option. If they dropped out before a question was first published, the Post did not reach out to get their stance.

Curious about where candidates stand on another policy? Fill out this suggestion form.

Candidate illustrations by Ben Kirchner.

Recent changes on this page

Jan. 13 Added Bloomberg support for marijuana decriminalization and stance on deportations.

Jan. 13 Booker dropped out of presidential race.

Jan. 10 Patrick's campaign said he supports voting right of formerly incarcerated individuals.

Jan. 10 Klobuchar's campaign confirmed her support for the federal legalization of marijuana.

Jan. 10 Williamson dropped out of presidential race.

Jan. 10 Page published.

Kevin Uhrmacher

Kevin Uhrmacher is a graphics editor for politics at The Washington Post. His work includes mapping trends in election results, analyzing data about President Trump’s political appointees and explaining the impact of congressional policies. He joined The Post in 2014 as a news designer.

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