On Tuesday President Biden signed a few executive orders aimed to “advance racial equity” and “phase out the federal use of private prisons.”
“The simple truth is, our soul will be troubled as long as systemic racism is allowed to persist,” Biden said. “It’s corrosive, it’s destructive and it’s costly.”
“We’re also less prosperous. We’re less successful. We’re less secure,” he added. “We must change.”
Biden signed a mandate directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to examine housing policies that ‘disproportionately affect people of color.’ And in a return to an Obama-era policy he signed an order to end the Justice Department’s use of private prisons .
In 2016, Obama’s Justice Department said private prisons had more safety and security problems than those run by the U.S. government and was moving to phase them out. Former President Trump’s administration reversed that policy, saying the Federal Bureau of Prisons needed to be able to contract with private companies to meet its needs in the future.
Since taking office last week, Biden has signed a smorgasbord of executive actions ranging from steps to tackle the coronavirus, reinstating Obama-era initiatives such as U.S. participation in the Paris climate accord. Biden also rescinded some of Trump’s policies, including a ban on travel to the U.S. for residents of several countries, and he revoked a permit approved by the Trump administration for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.