Biden’s Safer America Plan Includes Public Safety Improvements, Lacks Accountability

Media 08.1,22

Contact: Rachel Hooper, [email protected]

WASHINGTON—Maya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement on President Biden’s Safer America Plan

“We welcome President Biden’s criminal-legal reforms proposed in his Safer America Plan. We also recognize that some jurisdictions face police retention issues. The plan seeks to balance the needs some localities may have for more police with a deep need for a prevention- and reform-focused public safety system — but we have real questions on whether it strikes that balance. 

“To start, President Biden’s Safer America Plan includes investments with the ability to touch families and communities across the nation, and we appreciate the real and lasting reforms that can come from them. The Leadership Conference supports efforts to establish a public health-centered crisis response and fund crime prevention and violence interruption strategies. 

“However, the administration’s calls for increased law enforcement and prosecutions raise questions and concerns that require serious attention and deeper engagement with over-policed and under-protected communities. It is not readily apparent why 100,000 new police officers are needed and the funding program for discretionary grants is one that lacks sufficient oversight and accountability to ensure that the goals of the program are being met.

“We are concerned that this plan does not tie meaningful accountability to additional federal funding for law enforcement. True accountability requires transparency, ensuring that policing interactions are documented and reported accurately. Moving forward without requiring definitive oversight for the use of funding streams, data sharing, and provisions measuring impact on communities of color, we may see that, once again, communities of color experience unfair and unaccountable policing practices. 

“We are also disappointed that the plan continues the enforcement-first policies regarding fentanyl-related substances. Criminalizing these substances does nothing to combat the overdose crisis and will only lead to more people of color unnecessarily behind bars. As we go forward, we must ensure that today’s proposal does not undercut the important policies offered by the president’s May executive order on policing.” 

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit