There is bipartisan interest in maintaining the status quo
The major crises of mass incarceration, aggressive policing and drug abuse facing the US criminal justice system are a product of Democrat and Republican policies. Biden has a history of supporting legislation that has contributed to the current crises, favouring harsher sentencing and crackdowns on drugs. Trump supports aggressive policing and has failed to condemn police brutality. Biden is campaigning with pledges to modestly reform policing and the criminal justice system, but he cannot be trusted to do so given his political history. The best way to understand how each candidate would manage the criminal justice system is to consider how their parties have governed in the recent past. Neither party has been willing to implement substantial reforms, and most changes have been piecemeal or tokenistic. Addressing the current criminal justice crises would require a major overhaul of US society, and any president would be hesitant to bring this forward, let alone one of two candidates who have a history of favouring strong policing.
Biden's criminal justice agenda represents a significant departure from his previous actions on this issue. He has the support of Democrats and would have support in putting his plans into law. His proposed reforms to policing and criminal justice are significant and would make a welcome impact on American lives. Trump's presidency and the recent wave of protests have taught established Democrats that substantial criminal justice reform is necessary, and they will deliver on this if Biden is elected.