Hillary Clinton Comes Out Swinging For Reform, Wants To End “Era Of Mass Incarceration”

Hillary Clinton speaks at Columbia

Against the backdrop of the Baltimore riots, Hillary Clinton announced far-reaching plans for criminal justice reform on Wednesday. Clinton spoke at Columbia University in New York City, where a campaign aide has indicated she will unveil her first major policy proposal. Clinton’s plan, according to the campaign aide, will aim to “end the era of mass incarceration”.


During the speech, the Democratic candidate for president spoke about Baltimore and the emergence of clear national pattern, “For yet again, the family of a young black man is grieving a life cut short. Yet again, the streets of American city are marred by violence. By shattered glass, by shouts of anger, and by shows of force. Yet again, a community is reeling. Its fault lines laid bare, and its bonds of trust and respect frayed. Yet again, brave police officers have been attacked in the line of duty. What we have seen in Baltimore should, indeed I think does, tear at our soul. From Ferguson to Staten Island to Baltimore, the patterns have become unmistakable and undeniable.”

Clinton provided something of a sneak preview of her speech at a Tuesday night fundraiser in New York City. She told donors that criminal justice reform was needed, and that the nation needed to end its policy of mass incarceration for non-violent drug offenders. Her comments were greeted with enthusiastic applause.

She shared her thoughts with the audience, stating:

It’s heartbreaking. The tragic death of another young African American man. The injuries to police officers. The burning of people’s homes and small businesses. We have to restore order and security. But then we have to take a hard look as to what we need to do to reform our system.

In Clinton’s Wednesday address, she outlined a detailed list of reforms including requiring police officers to wear body cameras, shifting to a treatment rather than an incarceration approach to drug offenders, and increasing funding for mental health programs.

Clinton also discussed racial disparities in the current justice system, where African-Americans are disproportionately searched, arrested, and convicted. She also to pointed out that when convicted, black defendants are sentenced to longer prisons sentences on average than whites convicted of the same crimes.

Hillary Clinton’s willingness to address the deep injustices embedded inside America’s criminal justice system is refreshing, particularly against the backdrop of the Baltimore riots. Historically, the easiest path for a politician to take during civil unrest is to court “backlash voters” by talking the tough language of the ”law and order” reactionary.

Fortunately, rather than exploiting people’s base fears to drum up votes, Clinton is opting to take the issue of criminal justice reform head on. By calling for meaningful changes to how the police departments and the courts in America operate, Hillary Clinton is signaling that she intends to shake up the law enforcement Status quo.  That call for change is long overdue, and it is refreshing that a major presidential candidate intends to add her voice to the growing chorus demanding criminal justice reform.

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19 Replies to “Hillary Clinton Comes Out Swinging For Reform, Wants To End “Era Of Mass Incarceration””

  1. Yet another reason for the Right Wingers of America to Loathe Her.

    To even admit that such injustices are rampant- let alone what reform would do to the bottom line of so many Privatized Prisons…

    ‘President’ Hilary is sounding better and better…

  2. The fed’s failed drug war is a major factor in the over-
    crowded prison issue. Cops use simple possession as
    probable cause for search and it goes on from there. The
    haves get soft justice and the have nots get hard time. I
    never thought I’d agree with Rand Paul on much if any-
    thing, but he’s right about the herb people.

  3. A general betrays his country and he gets probation and a fine but someone in the inner cities steals a candybar or blows through a stopsign and they might get shot. Unless and until the military is taken out of the militarized police forces, unless and until “shoot first and ask questions later” is taken out of the militarized police forces, unless and until officers who commit crimes on the job are charged AND convicted… this will continue.

  4. Bob Marley – War Lyrics

    Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
    And another
    Is finally
    And permanently
    And abandoned
    Everywhere is war
    Me say war.

    That until there no longer
    First class and second class citizens of any nation
    Until the colour of a man’s skin
    Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes
    Me say war.

    That until the basic human rights
    Are equally guaranteed to all,
    Without regard to race
    Dis a war.

    That until that day
    The dream of lasting peace,
    World citizenship
    Rule of international morality
    Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued,
    But never attained
    Now everywhere is war – war.

    And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes
    That hold our brothers in Angola,
    In Mozambique,
    South Africa
    Sub-human bondage
    Have been toppled,
    Utterly destroyed
    Well, everywhere is war
    Me say war.

    War in the east,
    War in the west,
    War up north,
    War down south
    War – war
    Rumours of war.
    And until that day,
    The African continent
    Will not know peace,
    We Africans will fight – we find it necessary
    And we know we shall win
    As we are confident
    In the victory

    Of good over evil
    Good over evil, yeah!
    Good over evil
    Good over evil, yeah!
    Good over evil
    Good over evil, yeah!

  5. Right as far as decrim, djc. Well spoken, mon.
    And I’d hate to see dems take Christie’s posture on the
    subject in 2016. The fed still stands by a law from the ’30s that claimed cannabis has no medical value, yet it
    has issued patents on herbal remedies. Too many lives
    have been wrecked since Anslinger’s folly. The noble ex-
    periment proved prohibition of alcohol wouldn’t fly and
    our president has said that herb isn’t any more harmful.
    Holder should’ve pardoned the flower on his way out as
    a true gesture of justice.

  6. If Hillary becomes president, she will do nothing about this. She is just playing off fears. She doesn’t care about any of this. But if she can get you do vote for her, she has 4-8 years to get filthy rich and that is why she’s running.

  7. You’ve been huffing too much nitrocellulose fumes there Robert.

    The fact that you and yours get all whiny about it is enough for me to vote for her.

  8. I know, I know …slamming Hillary is the new fun thing to do. But, Democrats you might want to be careful or you’ll end up with another W (or worse) in the White House. Yes, I love Bernie and I’m glad he is in the race. However, the money won’t go to him. Face it, that’s a fact we have to live with for now. Hillary is way more qualified than any of the right-wing koch puppets. And, yes I realize she is not a good ole boy like Bill was, but who is. I have actually met both her and Bill. Arkansas is a small state and they got around alot when he was governor. She may not come across as all warm and fuzzy, but talking to her one on one is pretty awesome. Bill always said that she is smarter than he is and in my book that’s pretty damn smart!

  9. What?
    Hillary wants to close jails because they are very profitable business?

    The business owners are going to riot, then who will be closed next, mcdonalds?

    And what about the war on drugs?
    According to the drugpossesionlaws.com:
    Enforcing the maryjane laws alone “costs the nation $10 billion & leads to 835,000 arrests.”
    Those users will be (barely)running around causing chaos…
    say it isn’t so Hillary

  10. I say we haven’t locked up nearly enough. At least we know if they are in jail they aren’t committing more crimes. I do not begrudge one penny that we spend on incarceration. We treat criminals better than we treat their victims.

  11. maquignon:
    The problem is the injustice of the incarceration system. For example:

    “Charlie Sheen ‘spending $2,000-a-day on drugs… and … http://www.dailymail.co.uk” and

    He gets: “detox-rehabilitation-counseling- relapse-start over” blah-blah

    If you are doing drugs while white & your parent has money, you get: slap on the wrist & the “detox-counseling…cycle.

    If you are smoking one joint and have one for your friend, while being Brown or Black,or Creamy you are considered a dealer, then get arrested and beaten and then get some long time in the slammer.

    The system needs to be just for all.

  12. 75 Billion is not enough for you? But I bet you would be the first one to holler ” HELL NO! I WILL NOT PAY ONE RED CENT FOR EDUCATION. THEIR NOT MY KIDS”

  13. I don’t know what planet you are living on but the fact is that people who are locked up still commit or facilitate the commission of crimes both inside and outside of the particular institution which houses, feeds, clothes, etc., them, all at the expense of Joe and Joanne Taxpayer.

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