Hillary Clinton

Now Hillary Clinton Cares About Criminal Justice Reform

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Ready for Hillary/Instagram

In what MSNBC is calling "her strongest comments yet this year on criminal justice", former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed in on the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases Thursday, calling for grappling with "hard truths" and restoring "balance" to a criminal justice system rife with "unnecessary incarceration". 

I'll pause for a moment to let you roll your eyes.

Clinton's laments ring a little false, considering her history on criminal justice issues. Here's Clinton in 1994:

We need more police, we need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders. The three strikes and you're out for violent offenders has to be part of the plan. We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets.

As First Lady, Clinton lobbied for her husband's crime bill, which (among other things) encouraged states to enact harsher sentencing statutes and expanded the list of crimes subject to the federal death penalty. In 2001, Clinton co-sponsored a bill to provide more funding and stricter sentencing for hate crimes. In her 2006 book It Takes a Village, Clinton praised stricter punishments for people charged with sex crimes.

In 2007, she voted to reinstate $1.15 billion in funding for the COPS Program, a police funding initiative launched by the crime bill. Clinton also co-sponsored the COPS Improvements Act of 2007, which amended existing grants for community policing programs to hire more officers on anti-terror and homeland security duties, hire more school-based police officers, and create "school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, drug activities, and other problems facing elementary and secondary schools". (We've seen how well that last bit works out.) 

Obviously, people's policy prescriptions can evolve. Clinton's had 20 years of watching tough-on-crime policies play out, and at least she's able to admit that mistakes were made. In 2007, Clinton told the Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum that the results of the crime bill "have been an unacceptable increase in incarceration across the board" that needs to be addressed:

At the time, there were reasons why the Congress wanted to push through a certain set of penalties and increase prison construction and there was a lot of support for that across a lot of communities. It's hard to remember now but the crime rate in the early 1990s was very high. But we've got to take stock now of the consequences, so that's why I want to have a thorough review of all of the penalties, of all the kinds of sentencing, and more importantly start having more diversion and having more second chance programs.

Despite statements like that on the campaign trail, however, Clinton did not introduce or rally behind any legislation to this effect during her remaining U.S. Senate tenure.

Maybe I'm reading too much into that support comment, but it seems telling. In 1994, tough-on-crime was popular, and the Clintons obliged. Now that sentencing reform and reducing prison populations is all the rage, well… here's Clinton at the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston yesterday: 

Each of us has to grapple with some hard truths about race and justice in America. Because despite all the progress we've made together, African Americans, most particularly African-American men, are still more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms.

(…) The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population, yet we have almost 25 percent of the world's total prison population. Now, that is not because Americans are more violent or criminal than others around the world; in fact that is far from the facts. But it is because we have allowed our criminal justice system to get out of balance. And I personally hope that these tragedies give us the opportunity to come together as a nation to find our balance again.

This was the first time Clinton has spoken following the recent findings of grand juries not to indict an NYPD officer in the chokehold death of Garner or to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Brown. She told the audience she's supports a Justice Department investigation into these deaths and President Obama's task force on policing. 

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  1. And the positioning for 2016 continues…

    1. Positioning? Come on, she’s going to beat Christie in a landslide.

      1. You’re talking about in the primaries, right?

        1. Good point. Probably both the primaries and GE, after some timely party switches.

          1. Tulpa, you are pathetic beyond any comprehension of pathetic. Please do us all a favor and kill yourself. You’d be doing yourself a favor too.

            1. QQ more please. Delicious tears.

              1. This is so weak it could only come from you, Tulpy-poo. Keep it up.

                1. How did you guess?! You must be like the Sherlock Holmes Acid Burn of the internet!

                  Also, wasn’t Tulpa like some GOP type?

                  1. How did you guess?! You must be like the Sherlock Holmes Acid Burn of the internet!

                    Tulpa, no one has ever been worse than you at concealing your voice. Jesus Christ, you’re dumb. No wonder you’re such a failure of a man. Too stupid to know how terrible you are at everything you try.

  2. Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah, whew!, Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah, takes deep breatch, Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaahHahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah … falls out of chair, rolling on ground, holding sides, Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah, Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah, oh, please make is stop! Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah Hahawwahaaawwhaaaa ahhh bwahhhaaahhaaaah

    1. I read that in Joaquin Phoenix’s Johnny Cash impersonation.

      1. Oh Tulpa, you really should try harder to not be so fucking obvious. You really are terrible at this.

          1. No, just bored. And a bit amused at how desperate you are for attention, Tulpa. Is the community college job not working out for you?

  3. I’m sure we can find lots of stuff from the Waco assault about how she opposed the killing of children by law enforcement, and was dead against the militarization of police forces.

  4. The way the Drug War has been implemented has been wildly racist for the last 20 years since she came to public prominence, too, but somehow she failed to notice that.

    …which should in no way be interpreted as her tacit acceptance of racism becasue…because…because…SHE WASN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR BENGHAZZIES!

    1. Remember when her husband’s administration sent a tank to shoot fire into a wooden building full of children after botching a paramilitary raid? She totally opposed it, but has just been standing by her man for the last 22 years. But now, she’s finally ready to break her silence.

  5. Great post Eliz NB. Keep em coming

  6. OT: Rolling Stone apologizes for “discrepancies”

    In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced.

    1. We need a brave soul to go screencap jezebel before the memory hole takes over.

      1. I assume Robby will soon be receiving an apology from that Jezebel harpy who attacked him for reporting on the doubts about this story.

        1. Oh man. That laugh will get me through ’til 5:00 and cocktail hour.

        2. I’d say Soave deserves a victory lap on this one.

          1. Anna Merlan @annamerlan ? 12m 12 minutes ago
            I understand the temptation to gloat, guys, and I’ll let you, even though it’s in bad taste. Post coming soon. @robbysoave

            1. Yes, pointing out their foolishness and dishonesty is always in bad taste.

            2. Holy shit I don’t believe my lying eyes.

            3. “This is really, really bad. It means, of course, that when I dismissed Richard Bradley and Robby Soave’s doubts about the story and called them “idiots” for picking apart Jackie’s account, I was dead fucking wrong, and for that I sincerely apologize.”

              Well, good for her.

              1. The good fight continues in the comments!

                This is really, really bad. It means, of course, that when I dismissed Richard Bradley and Robby Soave’s doubts about the story and called them “idiots” for picking apart Jackie’s account, I was dead fucking wrong, and for that I sincerely apologize

                Uh, not really. In retrospect you were wrong, but the intention of these guys was pretty clear, and the fact remains that they also had no evidence to back up their skepticism *except* speculation and some “feelings”. Given that throughout all of history men have routinely doubted, denied, and denigrated rape victims, and that rape is drastically underreported and false rape accusations are rare, there is absolutely zero reason to assume these men were doing anything different than what we historically know to be true: doubting and denying rape. They’re part of a larger pattern. There’s a logic issue here: just because the story is called into question and thus *your* defense of it, it doesn’t mean that *their* skepticism was warranted, right, or coming from the right place. There are multiple parts here.

                1. Wow that is what a river in egypt looks like.

                2. Holy shit. Nobody ‘denies’ that rape happens. The issue is that actual evidence is needed before you destroy someone’s reputation and life. Fucking logic, how does it work? I guess I should check my privilege and stop mansplaining.

              2. Yeah, fair play on that. I’d have expected more backpedaling and excuses.

      2. …And here’s the apology. Congrats again, Robby.

        This is really, really bad. It means, of course, that when I dismissed Richard Bradley and Robby Soave’s doubts about the story and called them “idiots” for picking apart Jackie’s account, I was dead fucking wrong, and for that I sincerely apologize. It means that my conviction that Sabrina Rubin Erdely had fact-checked her story in ways that were not visible to the public was also wrong. It’s bad, bad, bad all around.

        1. Credit where due, I didn’t expect her to actually apologize in such an unequivocal fashion.

          1. Agreed. I congratulate this woman on her honesty and forthrightness. It is never fun eating crow, but this is the best way of doing so.

        2. Some think Robby was still at fault though:

          Uh, not really. In retrospect you were wrong, but the intention of these guys was pretty clear, and the fact remains that they also had no evidence to back up their skepticism *except* speculation and some “feelings”. Given that throughout all of history men have routinely doubted, denied, and denigrated rape victims, and that rape is drastically underreported and false rape accusations are rare, there is absolutely zero reason to assume these men were doing anything different than what we historically know to be true: doubting and denying rape. They’re part of a larger pattern. There’s a logic issue here: just because the story is called into question and thus *your* defense of it, it doesn’t mean that *their* skepticism was warranted, right, or coming from the right place. There are multiple parts here.

          1. Some people just can’t give it up. Just maybe the reason Robby and others picked this story apart is because there did seem to be inconsistencies and ridiculous aspects to the story. You know, just like Rolling Stone has admitted now.

          2. Someone who clearly doesn’t understand that the person making the assertion bears the burden of proof, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and that a lack of evidence is reason for skepticism regarding an assertion.

          3. False rape allegations are rare, yet the SJWs have a great record of finding them.

        3. I’m surprised. It’s not a non-apology, it’s an actual, fucking clear as a bell apology. I’m not used to that from journalists. Good on her.

    2. *throat clearing, hand-wringing, paper shuffling, shoe-gazing*

    3. http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

      The Washington basically said that everyone they interviewed including feminist advocates thoughtt ‘Jackie’ was full of shit.

      1. Basically The Washington post interviewed everyone involved including her friends, advocates for change, and the fraternity and found that Drew never even existed, the fraternity never had a party that night, nobody from the fraternity worked at the pool and that details of her story changed multiple times.

      2. The comment thread on the wapo story is filled with poo flinging. I need a cover for my drink and popcorn.

      3. Well, everyone knows the WaPo is just a bunch of Teabaggers and mysogynists.

    4. Did you read the whole apology?

      Campus rape serious, war on wimmenz, failure to respond, soul searching… oh, and some shit we reported wasn’t true.

      1. The narrative is all that matters, everything else is secondary these people are hacks every single one of them.

    5. In the face of new information

      LOL, so they didn’t notice that the old information sucked?

      1. “New information has come to light, man. There’s a lotta ins and a lotta outs to this case.”

        1. “fuck it Dude lets go bowling”

        2. There’s a lotta ins and a lotta outs

          You see how pervasive TEH RAPE KULTUR is?! Just because thise particular story turned out to be false, doesn’t mean that the underlying narrative isn’t true! /Left-tard SJWs

          1. “I vas told zat zere was a problem wiss you cable?”

    6. “While the details of this one case may have been misreported, this does not erase the somber truth this article brought to light: Rape is far more prevalent than we realize and it is often misunderstood and mishandled by peers, institutions, and society at large,”

      So then why is it so difficult to find real examples?

    7. Fuck, I used this story as a jumping-off point to deplore campus rapes – thank goodness I backed off the story when some commenters linked to criticism of the account.

      1. Burn on me for thinking “Rolling Stone Journalism” was anything other than a punch line.

    8. Here we go…

      This is really, really bad. It means, of course, that when I dismissed Richard Bradley and Robby Soave’s doubts about the story and called them “idiots” for picking apart Jackie’s account, I was dead fucking wrong, and for that I sincerely apologize.

  7. Fuck you, Hillary. You’re starting on my bad side.

    Wanna talk about that Master Settlement Agreement your husband kicked off? You know, that extension on the War on Drugs which is at the root of why Eric Garner is dead? No?

    Fuck you, my drink is empty. Fill it. And Mach Schnell this time.

  8. WACO
    WACO
    WACO
    WACO
    WACO
    WACO
    WACO
    I guess, in her defense, they didn’t bother to actually arrest those people.

    1. You incinerate trash, you don’t ‘put it away’. And besides, the Clintons were way ahead of their time. The Branch Davidians were no more than tea-baggers before the term was invented.

      1. Think of all the money saved on prosecutions, jailers, foster care, etc… The budget didn’t balance itself.

        1. Clinton tried to kill Bin Laden before he was a household name. He also tried to kill the teabaggers before they were a household name.

          Clinton, innovator, forward thinker.

    2. They were heretics, and there’s ample historical precedent that burning is what you do to heretics.

    3. That was her husband! She was just in an informal position at the time. That would never happen on her watch!*

      *Even though it was the right thing that happened, and nothing was wrong because no one ever got in any trouble.

  9. Let’s see: she deserves to be president because she was willing to remain married to a guy worse than whatever Cosby is alleged to be, plus she piled up more frequent flyer miles than any other Sec. of State, plus Tia Leone plays her on tv, and she has a vagina. Who the hell else has done more to deserve the presidency?

    1. Does the fact that I think Tea Leoni is still hot mean that I’m over 50.

      1. Just looked her up and no.

        Would.

  10. Now Hillary Clinton Cares About Criminal Justice Reform

    No, she doesn’t. It is politically expedient to be perceived to care. That is all.

  11. Hillary doesn’t need a compass to tell her which way the wind shines.

  12. “Her strongest comments yet”? What an incredibly sycophantic phrase.

    1. No shit. Didn’t the progtards write the same thing about Obama recently? That “makes strongest comments yet” about such-and-such is exactly what a cheerleader says.

    2. It is an entirely relative standard of measure.

  13. “In 2007, she voted to reinstate $1.15 billion in funding for the COPS Program, a police funding initiative launched by the crime bill. Clinton also co-sponsored the COPS Improvements Act of 2007, which amended existing grants for community policing programs …”

    Federalizing local police. Nobody could have foreseen that that would cause problems.

  14. It must be nice to be able to make a few politically opportunistic, grandstanding statements and be lauded for it by the MSM. Meanwhile Rand Paul actually introduces legislation to reduce mandatory minimums and make other actual no-shit reforms that could at least help reduce the number of Americans behind bars and at best we hear crickets, if not “he’s still an EVUL RACISTY RACIST TEATHUGLIKKKAN KOCHSUCKER!!11!!!!1!!!!!”

  15. Sorry I’m late, but I just read this in Slate’s article about Peter Pan always being played by a woman:

    “…staring Allison Williams as the titular character…”

    see it’s funny because titular has the word tit in it, which is totally sexist.

    #immature

  16. Every time I hear Holder, Clinton or any politician lament Ferguson, Cleveland or Eric Garner, it takes all my concentration not to careen of the road. They stand up there and act like if those people were wearing FBI, DEA, hell even IRS or Department of Edcuation (they have a SWAT team right), that they wouldn’t be defending all of this sort of behavior. I am not going to pretend that race plays no part in how justice is delivered, but it is not ALWAYS the central issue when. The problem begins with people wanting to lock people up for crimes with no victims. It continues with the government using it’s force as a way to extract revenue and not to protect. More important to craft a message to make sure we know which TEAM you are on.

    1. The problem begins with people wanting to lock people up for crimes with no victims.

      But there are victims: in Eric Garner’s case the victim was the government, whom he was robbing of valuable tax revenue by selling loose cigarettes, which is the highest crime possible. /sarc

      1. The mob doesn’t like it when you sell the same product they’re selling at a lower price.

        1. *The mob doesn’t like it when you sell the same product they’re selling at a lower price.*

          Actually, he was selling it a HIGHER price per cigarette. Do try to keep up.

  17. So Hillary has a record of endorsing police pork (pork for porkers?).
    She has a history of supporting the Drug War. So much for her.

    But one of the quotes in this post is from her advocating “tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders” and “three strikes and you’re out for violent offenders.”

    I don’t *necessarily* think that’s a bad thing if we’re talking about three violent felonies committed on separate occasions (as opposed to being part of the same incident).

    Reconsidering excessive sentences ought to focus first and foremost on nonviolent victimless crimes and first-offender stuff. But the way the issue is framed seems to suggest that even *violent* offenders are getting too much prison time. Maybe they are, but could we help out the nonviolent and first-time offenders first?

    To paraphrase comments I’ve made before – criminal justice reform seems to go go in cycles – in one cycle you have excessive harshness to nonviolent offenders, reacting against this we have lenient sentences for even violent criminals, then we cycle back to harsh sentences for both violent and nonviolent offenders.

    Reason could do some work by focusing on these key distinctions which the latest narrative seems to elide.

  18. yet we have almost 25 percent of the world’s total prison population

    Which could not possibly have anything to do with prosecuting people for victimless crimes.

  19. “But it is because we have allowed our criminal justice system to get out of balance. And I personally hope that these tragedies give us the opportunity to come together as a nation to find our balance again.”

    A well focused articulation of the problem that illuminates a clear path to it’s solution.

    It’s balance what we need!

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