DOJ Issues Justice Equity Plan as Part of Biden Effort to Help Marginalized Communities
The government agency charged with enforcing the law, ensuring public safety against foreign threats, and controlling crime has been quite busy formulating an official strategy to “advance equity for marginalized and underserved communities.” Made public this month, the policy is known as the Department of Justice Equity Action Plan and among its key initiatives is a reform in law enforcement practices that directs federal prosecutors to ignore maximum sentencing under the law. That will help “avoid unwarranted disparities, promote fair outcomes in sentencing, and seek justice in every case,” according to the new Biden administration plan. The DOJ brags that it issued prosecutors guidance requiring decisions about charging, plea agreements, and advocacy at sentencing to be based on “an individualized assessment of relevant facts, and not to reflexively rely on the maximum punishments allowable under law.” The DOJ assures that it will continue to pursue policies that promote equitable law enforcement practices.
The agency’s new Justice Equity Action Plan also creates a new Language Access Coordinator to report hate crimes in at least 10 languages, including six of the most frequently spoken Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI). An Anti-Hate Coordinator will oversee a new division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which operates under the DOJ, has been directed to designate hate crimes as “one of its highest-level national threat priorities.” The change will force the FBI to make hate crimes a focus for all of its 56 field offices, according to the new policy. The DOJ will also award over $21 million to help state and local agencies as well as community organizations “address an alarming rise in violent and property crimes committed on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.” A new Office for Access to Justice will help disenfranchised minorities navigate the justice system by offering language and cultural access, which the DOJ claims will ensure economic opportunity and fairness and pursue racial equity.
Under the new plan the DOJ will ensure that approximately $4 billion in grants awarded annually for justice-related programs is administered in a way that is inclusive of historically underserved and marginalized populations and implemented in a nondiscriminatory manner. Every year the agency doles the money out to community policing services, correctional and juvenile justice facilities, drug and mental health courts, services for crime victims and law enforcement wellness services. The grant programs “present a significant opportunity to further equity across a broad spectrum of services,” the new DOJ plan states, adding that grant recipients will be directed to take actions to promote greater equity in their communities and strengthen the agency’s enforcement of nondiscrimination mandates. The DOJ will also give more money to “entities serving communities that historically have had fewer opportunities to access and benefit from federal financial assistance.” This includes prioritizing funding for “culturally specific” organizations that provide “culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to cultural groups” such as Latinos and blacks.
The new DOJ plan is part of the Biden administration’s sweeping effort to advance racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government. The costly initiative was launched back in January 2021 when the president issued an executive order claiming that “entrenched disparities” in laws, public policies, and private institutions have denied equal opportunity to individuals and communities and that the health and climate crises have exposed inequities while a “historic movement for justice has highlighted the unbearable human costs of systemic racism.” Therefore, the executive order states, the federal government should pursue a “comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.” It further says that “by advancing equity across the Federal Government, we can create opportunities for the improvement of communities that have been historically underserved, which benefits everyone.”
Many key federal agencies have already implemented racial equity plans as per Biden’s order. The Department of Labor has dedicated $260 million to promote “equitable access” to government unemployment benefits by addressing disparities in the administration and delivery of money by race ethnicity and language proficiency. The Treasury Department named its first ever racial equity chief, a veteran La Raza official who spent a decade at the nation’s most influential open borders group. The Department of Defense (DOD) is using outrageous anti-bias materials that indoctrinate troops with anti-American and racially inflammatory training on diversity topics. The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created an equity commission to address longstanding inequities in agriculture. The nation’s medical research agency has a special minority health and health disparities division that recently issued a study declaring COVID-19 exacerbated preexisting resentment against racial/ethnic minorities and marginalized communities.