Harris Pick Puts Her Criminal Justice Record Front and Center

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Kamala Harris

Sen. Kamala Harris. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Once far apart on criminal justice policy questions, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have drifted toward common ground just as criminal justice reform moves to center stage in presidential politics, the Washington Post reports.

The path that they took was a key factor in forming the Democratic presidential ticket, Harris’ aides said after Biden announced on Tuesday he was picking the former San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general as his running mate.

When Harris took office as DA 16 years ago, she took aim at policies she believed put too many Black people in prison, including federal policies Biden had a key role in shaping. Since then, Biden has moved closer to Harris’ views.

But both candidates are certain to face questions about how in sync they truly are, and how far they both have moved from positions that reform advocates find troubling. On that score, Biden’s record is littered with far more tough-on-crime quotes and votes.

But Harris, too, must contend with a record of aggressive drug enforcement and doubts about her bona fides as a self-proclaimed progressive prosecutor.

Among other issues, Harris has been dogged by complaints that as AG she sat on the sidelines of controversial police shootings, The New York Times reported in a review of her law enforcement record.

Thanks to Harris’ unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, analysts and reporters have picked over her record extensively, as The Marshall Project and Vox, among others, have documented.

Additional Reading:

How Kamala Harris Shifted Positions on Criminal Justice

Kamala Harris, Police Shootings and Safety

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