Former President Bill Clinton sat down with CNN yesterday (May 6) to answer anchorwoman Christiane Amanpour’s questions on criminal justice reform and how it can play a big part in the 2016 Presidential elections.
Clinton admittedly said a lot of the issues in mass incarceration today stem from bills placed into action during his administration (1993-2001). The federal crime law—known as the “three strikes”—was aimed to keep repeat criminals in prison and off the streets by giving life sentences without parole to felons with two previous convictions on similar state or federal charges (including drug possession).
“The problem is the way it was written and implemented is we cast too wide a net and we had too many people in prison,” he said. “And we wound up…putting so many people in prison that there wasn’t enough money left to educate them, train them for new jobs and increase the chances when they came out so they could live productive lives.” This same bill also put more police officers on the streets and increased prison funding.
His current crime justice reform views are parallel to those of current Democratic presidential candidate (and wife) Hillary Clinton. During her first policy address of her presidential campaign last week, Clinton says she wants to focus on being less “tough on crime” (the unofficial catchphrase of the Clinton administration) and zoom in on lowering prison populations and providing more opportunities for low-income areas.
“Keeping them behind bars does little to reduce crime, but it does a lot to tear apart families,” Hillary Clinton said last week. “Our prisons and our jails are now our mental health institutions.”
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