In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton admitted that the United States’ mass incarceration problems stems directly from policies passed during his administration.
“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. “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.”
His message comes after his wife and Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, unveiled a new set of criminal justice reforms during a speech to Columbia University last week.
While Hillary Clinton as joined the chorus of politicians veering away from tough criminal policies in the wake of Baltimore protests, her stance on criminal justice has not always been so consistent.
In 1994, Hillary Clinton supported the crime bill that has put so many behind bars. As CNN notes,
“She said that the crime bill would keep violent offenders locked up ‘so they could never get out again’ and touted the ‘three strikes’ provision specifically.
‘We will finally be able to say, loudly and clearly, that for repeat, violent, criminal offenders: three strikes and you're out. We are tired of putting you back in through the revolving door,’ Clinton said.”
Hillary Clinton’s perspective as since shifted saying last week, “Keeping them behind bars does little to reduce crime, but it does a lot to tear apart families. Our prisons and our jails are now our mental health institutions."