In January, President Joe Biden signed a number of executive orders to address injustice. One of them ends reliance on private prisons. Today, there are nearly 152,000 Americans incarcerated federally, with 14,000 at privately-managed prisons. According to the order, the Department of Justice will not renew any federal contracts with private prison operators. “This is the first step to stop corporations from profiting off incarceration that is less humane and less safe,” Biden said at the White House on January 22nd. It’s the beginning of his overall plan to address systemic problems in the criminal justice system.
Biden also issued an executive order to lift a ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military. Former President Donald Trump banned recruitment of transgender people, arguing allowing transgender people to serve would be disruptive and expensive.
On January 25th, Janet Yellen was confirmed by the Senate as the first female secretary of the Treasury Department in 232 years. Before this, she was the Federal Reserve chair. Now she must try to revive an economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her first task will be to work with Congress to advance President Biden’s plan for a new $1.9 trillion economic-stimulus package.