Today, President Biden took critical steps towards criminal justice reform, following the recommendations laid out within the National Platform roadmap of JustLeadershipUSA by signing a Presidential Memorandum reinstating the Access to Justice Office. Originally established under Obama but disbanded under the previous administration, the move also reinstates the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable, building on executive orders signed by the President his first day in office and further reinforcing his desire to prioritize equity in government operations. We are encouraged by these actions, as they indicate the President has been listening during meetings with advocates and directly impacted people within the criminal justice space and underscores that now is the time for change.
The plan requested within the next 120 days from the Attorney General is expected to not only expand access to justice work, but addresses the increased disparity that exists in our country due to the pandemic – something that is long overdue as we work to dismantle the deeply ingrained racism, lack of access and inequity that exists within the current criminal justice system. JLUSA applauds the work of the current administration in taking meaningful action towards justice for all and urges the President to continue to conduct conversations with those impacted, bringing on a reentry Czar who has direct experience within the prison system to help guide and shape these conversations. Only when we have full representation at the table will we be able to make meaningful change.