(Politico) – Hillary Clinton declared Wednesday in New York that there’s “something wrong” with criminal justice in America.
But a lot of what Clinton finds wrong can be traced to her husband’s presidency.
Bill Clinton imposed harsher sentencing guidelines, cut education funding for prisoners, and expanded the flow of military equipment to local police in the 1990s, when violent crime was surging and tough policies played well in the political center. With Baltimore in flames and bipartisan concern about mass incarceration rising, both Clintons are now calling for reform.
“It’s time to end the era of mass incarceration,” said the former secretary of state in Wednesday’s speech at Columbia University. What she didn’t say: She lobbied liberal lawmakers to support her husband’s 1994 crime bill, which included $9.7 billion in prison funding and tougher sentencing provisions.
Clinton decried the decades-long growth of American prison populations, though it continued unabated during her husband’s administration and beyond. The number of prisoners grew nearly 60 percent between the end of 1992 and the end of 2000, the duration of Bill Clinton’s presidency, according to figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.