O'Rourke endorses progressive criminal justice priorities

Former Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D-Texas) endorsed a series of progressive criminal justice proposals Thursday in an essay for the Brennan Center for Justice.

In the essay, published Thursday alongside others from fellow 2020 contenders such as Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.), the Texas lawmaker announced support for several priorities firmly in line with the Democratic Party’s left wing.

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Among the proposals he endorsed included plans to end cash bail at the state level, make for-profit prisons illegal, and end mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.

The former Texas congressman also vowed to confront the “over-policing of black and brown neighborhoods” as well as ending the federal prohibition on marijuana.

“Ultimately, this is about ensuring that every single one of us — regardless of race, ethnicity, or class — can live to our full potential with equal rights and equal dignity. We will build a future that is more just, more fair, and more prosperous for every single person,” O’Rourke wrote on Twitter.

O’Rourke’s endorsement of criminal justice reform proposals came as his campaign has struggled to make headway against a crowded field of competitors, and the former congressman regularly polls in the single digits behind higher-tier contenders such as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE and Sanders.

His poll numbers have receded since entering the race with millions of dollars in fundraising earlier this year, and he has reportedly worked to relaunch his campaign with a media tour after months of low-key events with voters.

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