Bill Clinton Admits That Mass Incarceration Stems From Policies Enacted During His Administration
President Bill Clinton on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, conceded that over-incarceration in the United States stems in part from policies passed under his administration.
Clinton signed into law an omnibus crime bill in 1994 that included the federal “three strikes” provision, mandating life sentences for criminals convicted of a violent felony after two or more prior convictions, including drug crimes. Clinton acknowledged that policy’s role in over-incarceration in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
“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,” Clinton said Wednesday. “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.”
Clinton’s comments come on the heels of protests in Baltimore over policing and the death of a young black man there and a week after Hillary Clinton delivered one of the first policy addresses of her presidential campaign on criminal justice reform, saying that the system focuses too much on incarceration.
“Keeping them behind bars does little to reduce crime, but it does a lot to tear apart families,” Hillary Clinton said. “Our prisons and our jails are now our mental health institutions.”
Your Black World’s Dr. Boyce Watkins shares his thoughts on the former presidents too little, too late admission of his involvement in the mass incarceration on black men.