Hillary Clinton blames “mass incarceration” of blacks for the riots in Baltimore. She called for a re-evaluation of prison sentences.
Hillary Clinton called on Wednesday for broad criminal-justice reform, reflecting the former First Lady’s evolution from supporting the policies instituted by her husband two decades ago in a period of high crime rates.
Clinton called for body cameras in every police department in the country, as well as an end to an “era of mass incarceration.” Her speech came two days after the funeral in Baltimore of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody, and amidst ongoing civil unrest in that city.
“There is something profoundly wrong when African-American men are far more likely to be stopped by the police and charged with crimes and given longer prison terms than their white counterparts,” Clinton said. “There is something wrong when trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve breaks down … We must urgently begin to rebuild bonds of trust and respect among American between police and citizens.”
Clinton offered few specific policy plans in the speech, and didn’t explain how police forces would pay for body cameras on all officers. She spoke broadly about reducing jail sentences for low-level offenders and the effects of imprisoning millions, particular African Americans. “We don’t want to create another incarceration generation,” Clinton said.
Policing experts who reconstructed the events of the day said that Baltimore police did not send enough officers to the situation at the start, failed to quickly make arrests once trouble began and did not deploy additional officers quickly enough.
Key decisions led the situation to spiral out of control in a short 90 minutes, a lesson other police departments should heed.