In an interview on Wednesday, former president Bill Clinton admitted that over-incarceration in the United States exists partly from policies passed under his administration.
Bill told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that an omnibus crime bill he signed into law in 1994 that included the “three strikes” provision has led to over-incarceration. A portion of the interview may be viewed below.
"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," Bill 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."
Under the “three strikes” provision, it is required that a criminal convicted for a violent felony after two or more prior convictions, including drug crimes, serve a life sentence.
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Bill said the blame is not all his own because Republicans were strongly pushing for the “three strikes” provision.
"But I wanted to pass a bill and so I did go along with it," Bill said.
Bill said he supports his wife Hillary Clinton's, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, criminal justice reform ideas, referring to bipartisan support of such reform as “one of the most hopeful things.”
"I mean, going from conservative Republicans to liberal Democrats and the people in between saying there's too many people in jail and we're not doing enough to rehabilitate the ones you could rehabilitate," Bill said. "We're wasting too much money locking people up who don't need to be there."
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Hillary suggested during a speech on Wednesday that the criminal justice system is “out of balance,” reports The Washington Post.
“We have to come to terms with some hard truths about race and justice in America,” Hillary said. “There is something profoundly wrong when African American men are still far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes and sentenced to longer prison terms than are meted out to their white counterparts.”
In 1994, when Bill signed the “three strikes” bill, Hillary was a strong supporter, stating it would keep violent offenders incarcerated "so they could never get out again.”
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