BERN NOTICE: Bernie vs Trump On Criminal Justice

Bernie heads to South Carolina today to directly challenge the president

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Bernie is in South Carolina today at a major criminal justice forum, where Donald Trump spoke yesterday. Bernie’s campaign has focused intently on criminal justice — and his record is a direct contrast with Trump.

Trump has effectively granted blanket legal immunity to corporate criminals, while using the criminal justice apparatus to crack down on immigrants and the poor. By contrast, Bernie has pledged to more stringently enforce laws against corporate criminals, while ending draconian policies that criminalize the poor and persecute people of color.

As South Carolina State Rep. Justin Bamberg wrote in a new oped:

“Sanders is the only 2020 presidential candidate who has spent a lifetime addressing the social ills and injustices that gave rise to the mass incarceration, police violence and racial profiling that plague our system today.”

Here’s a quick rundown of the major differences between Trump and Bernie on criminal justice:


Trump: Doubled spending on private prisons, whose corporate owners give big money to his campaign. There are now more than 121,000 people in private prisons in the United States.

Bernie: Has authored legislation to ban private prisons and has pushed to end for-profit detention centers.


Trump: His Justice Department has ordered prosecutors to seek harsh punishments for non-violent drug offenses, and threatened to stop state efforts to legalize marijuana. 

Bernie: Released a comprehensive plan to end the racist war on drugs and legalize marijuana.


Trump: Has let police departments off the hook for civil rights violations; pushed for the return of “stop and frisk; encouraged law enforcement to rough up people who have been arrested; floated the idea of deploying police force against homeless people. 

Bernie: Will strengthen accountability for police departments so that civil rights laws are enforced; Will limit the use of qualified immunity for police officers, establish a national use of force standard that emphasizes de-escalation, and ban practices like racial profiling.


Trump: Reduced white collar and environmental prosecutions to a record low; offered non-prosecution deals to corporate wrongdoers; reduced tax fraud investigations against millionaires and corporations. 

Bernie: Released a comprehensive corporate accountability plan, and pledged to more stringently enforce laws aimed at corporate wrongdoing. That includes promising a criminal investigation of fossil fuel corporations for their role in climate change, as well as cracking down on corporate tax evasion.


TrumpAlmost completely halted hate crimes prosecutions, even as reported hate crimes has skyrocketed.

Bernie: Will strengthen the enforcement of federal hate crimes laws.


Trump: Nearly doubled federal criminal prosecutions for immigration violations

Bernie: Will completely reshape and reform our immigration enforcement system, including fundamentally restructuring ICE, an agency he voted against creating; Will end the barbaric practice of family separation and detention of children in cages and dismantle cruel and inhumane deportation programs and detention centers.


Trump: Pushed to restart the federal death penalty and expand it.

Bernie: Will end the death penalty.

Bern after reading,