Criminal Justice

Rand Paul Welcomes Hillary Clinton to the Fight for Criminal Justice Reform

The Republican presidential candidate notes the need to "undo some of the harm inflicted by the Clinton administration."



Earlier today I noted that Hillary Clinton, while declaring "it's time to end the era of mass incarceration," did not mention her own role in promoting the "tough on crime" policies that have put so many people in prison for so long. This morning Rand Paul's office issued a press release calling attention to that omission:

According to Salon, the Clinton administration's focus on the "War on Drugs" is responsible for increasing incarceration by 673,000 new inmates….

Not only is Hillary Clinton trying to undo some of the harm inflicted by the Clinton administration, she is now emulating proposals introduced by Senator Rand Paul over the last several years, and we welcome her to the fight. 

In the Salon article, Jeff Stein notes:

The explosion of the prison system under Bill Clinton's version of the "War on Drugs" is impossible to dispute. The total prison population rose by 673,000 people under Clinton's tenure —or by 235,000 more than it did under President Ronald Reagan, according to a study by the Justice Policy Institute. "Under President Bill Clinton, the number of prisoners under federal jurisdiction doubled, and grew more than it did under the previous 12-years of Republican rule,combined," states the JPI report. The federal incarceration rate in 1999, the last year of the Democrat's term, was 42 per 100,000—more than double the federal incarceration rate at the end of President Reagan's term (17 per 100,000), and 61 percent higher than at the end of President George Bush's term (25 per 100,000), according to JPI.

The JPI report, titled "Too Little, Too Late: President Clinton's Prison Legacy," is here. Hillary Clinton is not her husband, of course, but she was a vocal supporter of his criminal justice policies, and her recent discussions of reform have been notably light not only on references to his administration but on references to the drug war's role in overincarceration.

By welcoming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to the fight for criminal justice reform, of course, Paul, who is seeking the Republican nomination, is not-so-subtly calling attention to her lack of interest in the issue for most of her career and drawing a contrast with his own persistent and varied efforts in this area. In case you did not get the point, the press release closes by describing five criminal justice bills Paul has introduced this session, addressing mandatory minimum sentences, asset forfeiture, restoration of voting rights, expungement of criminal records, and police body cameras. Despite the tweak, if Clinton means what she says about putting aside partisan differences to "restore balance to our justice system," she should be happy to "work together" with political adversaries such as Paul "to get the job done."

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66 responses to “Rand Paul Welcomes Hillary Clinton to the Fight for Criminal Justice Reform

  1. Hillary Clinton trying to undo some of the harm inflicted by the Clinton administration

    Mmmm, that’s some tasty snark right there, yes surrr.

    1. Yes, but this article is clearly wildly sexist.

      The choices of Mrs. Clinton’s husband should never reflect negatively upon her. That would be sexist. You would never judge a man by his wife’s actions, and what his wife does or does not do does not affect his ability to do the right thing or the job competently.

      Didn’t you get the memo? You are ONLY allowed to say things about Mr. Clinton that reflect positively upon our future queen. Otherwise you are a horrible person and ought to be shot and sent to the gulag for reducation. That is right. Shot first. Then sent to the gulag.

      1. Damn, at least the Soviets sent you to the gulag and then shot you when you were too worn out to work anymore.

        To be shot and then sent to the gulag….that’s just cold blooded man.

  2. Paul’s best jab since entering the race.

    Mostly because it centers around some of his best work.

    1. I don’t know. Shutting down DWS on abortion was pretty sweet.

      1. The shoe store?

        1. No the angry woman from South Florida.

            1. We know from reptilians in Florida. That is an insult to honest immigrant iguanas.

    2. I still like “King of Bacon”

    3. “Best jab”

      I believe it was technically a “back of the left-hand bitch-slap”

      (being a ‘left-handed compliment’ combined with a ‘blatant diss’)

    4. I thought it was pretty funny when he asked her if she was going to send back the donation money from countries that still legitimately oppress women.

  3. …and will be promptly forgotten if the relic gets her throne.

    1. You’ve been misinformed.

      Politicians don’t do that

      1. I bathe naked in the luxurious and shimmering pools of misinformation. Care to join me? I will pick the lice from your Bonobo hide if you return the favor.

  4. …she should be happy to “work together” with political adversaries such as Paul “to get the job done.”

    In what capacity? She’s not in any office at the moment. It’s good to know that the Clinton trait of raising a wet finger to determine policy is still strong in her.

    1. Please use the appropriate terminology, Fisty. “Triangulation.”

    2. Yeah. “Let’s meet with community leaders….” The unemployed are always a fountain of wisdom.

      1. or “community organizers” – yep we saw how well that went…..

    3. ” It’s good to know that the Clinton trait of raising a wet finger…”


    4. Isn’t she still Secretary of State? Or is that not an “office”? I’m confused.

  5. “Welcome to the party, pal!”

  6. I think she may have just done Rand Paul a favor. By boldly staing her support for criminal justice reform, she draws attention to the fact that Rand Paul is the one who had been the real leader on this issue.

    If the election is going to be about criminal justice reform, who do you vote for, the guy that put the issue on the map by personally championing it? Or someone who just recently jumped on the bandwagon ?

    1. What is your party affiliation?

    2. Depends. Am I an independent that only votes for democrats? 😉

      1. If you ‘only’ vote for Democrats, sir, I question your status.

        1. The chick who robbed Matt Welch’s glasses said this to Nick G. on Bill Maher.

          1. Wait, when was this? Did she seriously say she was an independent who only votes for Democrats?

            1. Who’s this?

              1. Conundrum in a very tight orange miniskirt.

    3. A rather foxy observation this.

    4. Rand Paul is the one who had been the real leader on this issue.

      Nonsense. Black politicians have been complaining about “criminal justice reform” for ages.

      1. Since when have blacks ever mattered, Jew? Hell, the life-saving unions kill tons of’em along with meth-head crackers all the time and no one really gives a shit.

        Modern Civilization 101. Don’t give a shit about crackheads in ghettos and meth heads in rural places and whores in all the places.

        1. Well, there is that Black president. He is our puppet, but so are all politicians.

    5. I wonder if that would be a reasonable strategy for her, actually. The GOP is going to try as hard as it can to stamp on Rand, so Hillary boosting him might help her overall, by tangling the GOP in their own feet.

      1. Nah. I think she is doing it because she needs something to keep black voters from being disaffected with her candidacy.

  7. Good move. Hope he goes beyond a press release and touts his bona fides on this issue in every interview he does.

    1. Oh, he will do more than that. If he has anyone with any brains in his organization he is going to be much more explicit, and challenge candidate Clinton to follow suit or state her reasons why. He has the moral high ground on this issue and he should beat all opponents R and D about the head and shoulders with it.

      Senator Paul, what do you think about the danger posed by ISIS?

      Well, while violent extremists are certainly a danger to Americans abroad, the American **finger quotes** justice system is much more dangerous to Americans right here at home.

      Senator Paul, what is your position on Evolution?

      I believe that my position on criminal justice reform has certainly evolved.

      Senator Paul, what is your position on Gay marriage?

      Justice in America is important. I believe that gay people be treated justly. Unfortunately, to many people are not treated justly in our etc, etc.

  8. Really glad to see this story today
    its good to see something positive after all this shit happening in my city

  9. I’m also curious to know what Hillary Clinton’s stance on marijuana legalization is.

    1. She’s for it, unless Bill is gonna waste it by not inhaling.

  10. Hillary Clinton is not her husband, of course,


  11. This is all good stuff but we are only going to get a single shot at real reform. If that reform is only about getting rid of a few of the more egregious sentencing laws and giving some non violent felons the right to vote, we will have failed. There needs to be a comprehensive review and overhaul of federal criminal law in its entirety. There are far too many regulatory crimes and far too many strict liability statutes.

    It is not just about sentencing and asset forfeiture. It is about the slow criminalization of most of modern life.

    1. It is not just about sentencing and asset forfeiture. It is about the slow criminalization of most of modern life.

      ^^ This. You get no traction in the public with opposition to the war on drugs and mandatory sentencing.

      The real traction is in painting a picture that the police are becoming more and more bold in their targeting of average everyday folks, and that the myriad of criminal laws are aiding the bad apples in getting away with an abuse of power. The sympathetic victims aren’t the drug dealers who get shot while trying to resist arrest; the sympathetic victims are the wrong house raids, the children injured during SWAT incursions, the mentally ill person who is killed for holding a screwdriver.

      1. Problem one.

        We are all criminals. Every one of us. And I don’t just mean those of us who frequent these pages and similar. All Americans are criminals guilty of SOME crime or another.

        Problem two.

        And any disrespect to a police officer is cause for a death sentance. Any time an officer of the law feels threatened, justly or not (and s/he may feel threatened for nearly any reason, including perceived anger in a suspects voice), that officer can respond with lethal force with minimal consequences.

        This is all clearly understood by any who pay attention.

        1. I guess those four Swedish cops didn’t get the memo.

  12. Hillary is a craven evil bitch. She is not however completely stupid. She did this for a reason. I think her doing this shows that Paul’s message is making some inroads with the black community and she had no choice but to get ahead of him on it.

    1. She won’t be able to pull it off. While I admit that she will say anything, she will not have the courage or conviction to compete with Rand if he pushes it. I think he can beat everyone in the race with this issue. Who else is even mentioning it, while police killings and abuse is in the fucking news every single day?

      1. I hope you are right. Paul needs to be relentless about this.

      2. Exactly. She wants to run on criminal justice reform? Have at it! Play to Rand Paul’s strengths!

        On a side note: Maybe this is what “winning” looks like. When your enemies start adopting all your positions to try to co-opt you.

        First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you …. then they pretend that they were there first.

        1. CJR is a liberal priority as well as a libertarian one. Has been for a long time.

          1. That’s funny. Really, you should go on tour with that.

          2. Yeah, such a priority that nobody gave a shit until Rand Paul started talking about it.

          3. That is why Obumbles has been all over it, huh?

          4. Man, y’all really dropped the ball on that one when you were too busy doing retarded shit like supporting the War on Terror, War on Drugs, figuring out ways to prop up your buddies in the banking and housing industries, giving a massive handout to the health insurance companies, nationalizing parts of the auto industry, etc.

            And don’t even bother, I know those were all really my fellow Republicans doing.*

            *You are functionally retarded so you will probably think I am a Republican even though that line was laced with sarcasm.

      3. Hillary and Rand are both just talkers.

        We need a Walker, not a talker.

        Ehh, too long for a bumper sticker.

        1. Walker is a Prohibitionist.

  13. Paul has introduced this session, addressing mandatory minimum sentences, asset forfeiture, restoration of voting rights, expungement of criminal records…

    Can a criminal record really be expunged these day? I have a 1/4 page rap sheet that I’d like expunged but I don’t believe for a second it could be done, not in the information age. “The cat’s out of the bag” as my lawyer told me, way back in 1981.

    It’s a 2nd Law of Thermodynamics violation at this point. “You can’t unbreak the class” and “You can’t cool the room down by opening the fridge door”. We should just film every birth and hit the baby with an indecent exposure violation. The new Original Sin.

  14. The comments at that Salon article are already claiming that it was the republican congress that caused the explosion in prison pop.

    1. Of course it was because we all know the Republicans are evil and the Democrats came straight from God’s butt hole.

      Never mind the fact that no Democratic congress has tried to reign any of this shit in and Obama is decreeing himself new powers at will.

  15. Everyone gives a pass to the current Congress. “Well of course they’re not going to do anything, they’re insane freaks!” I’m sure you guys are saying. How about Rand Paul convince some of his fellow partymates of the importance of this reform? Wouldn’t that be more productive more quickly than trolling HRC?

    1. Wouldn’t it be more productive if you stopped wasting oxygen and shilling for the piece of shit Democrats?

      Granted, the President doesn’t have the power to fix all of these issues….wait a sec, Emperor Obama just gave himself the power to arrest and prosecute “cyber-criminals” without any of those pesky courts, so who knows, maybe Paul can just decree things as well.

      1. We only get two choices.

    2. Um, since you have apparently not been paying attention, he HAS.
      He’s been working both within his own party and across the aisle to the Congressional Black Caucus of all things, and has introduced five bills on the subject, on various aspects of reform.

  16. I take it prison reform is polling well

  17. “The federal incarceration rate in 1999, the last year of the Democrat’s term, was 42 per 100,000?more than double the federal incarceration rate at the end of President Reagan’s term (17 per 100,000), and 61 percent higher than at the end of President George Bush’s term (25 per 100,000), according to JPI.”

    Sounds like a good reason to be critical of the Clinton legacy. But notice the Bush presidency as well–the incarceration rate went up by 8 per 100,000 in one term, almost doubling the prison population. If, somehow, George Bush Sr. had served two more terms (that means 5 Bush terms in a row…I shudder at the thought), the incarceration rate could have gone up at another 8 per 100K each term–which would mean that 41 people per 100,000 were in jail, just slightly shy of the Clinton total.

    This is evidence to suggest that we should be equally critical of Jeb Bush when he praises his father’s legacy and runs for president (although at least he hasn’t come to us with strange promises to run away from his family’s prison-friendly legacy), and another friendly reminder that the failure of America’s prison system is bipartisan.

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