New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker criticized former Vice President Joe Biden’s defense of a 1994 crime bill he championed in an interview with Huffpost.
Booker told the outlet that he disagreed with Biden’s claim that the 1994 criminal justice reform bill did not significantly increase the US prison population.
“The incentives they put in that bill for people to raise mandatory minimums, for building prisons and jails ― from the time I was in law school to the time I was mayor of the city of Newark, we were building a new prison or jail every 10 days in America while the rest of our infrastructure crumbled ― overwhelmingly putting people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses that members of Congress and the Senate admit to breaking now,” Booker said. “That bill was awful.”
“We should all agree with the force of conviction: That bill was a mistake,” he added. “Good people signed on to that bill. People make mistakes. But let’s hold them to that. That crime bill was shameful, what it did to black and brown communities like mine [and] low-income communities from Appalachia to rural Iowa. It was a bad bill.”
Crime bill a problematic part of Biden’s legacy:
Biden was the chair of the Judiciary Committee and the lead sponsor of the bill, which President Bill Clinton later signed into law in 1994.
“The sprawling legislation contained multitudes of provisions, but experts today agree it was a factor in skyrocketing incarceration rates, especially for African-Americans and Latinos, primarily by incentivizing states to lock criminals up for longer periods of time and giving them billions of dollars to build new prisons. (It did not directly incentivize states to adopt stronger mandatory minimums.) Experts now believe the massive increase in incarceration had little to do with the decrease in crime rates since the 1990s,” Huffpost reported.
The bill also included an assault weapons ban and an early version of the Violence Against Women Act.
“This idea that the crime bill generated mass incarceration, it did not generate mass incarceration,” Biden said earlier this month, blaming increased prison populations on individual states adopting harsh mandatory minimum sentences.
Trump thinks he can swing black voters from Biden by citing crime bill:
“Super Predator was the term associated with the 1994 Crime Bill that Sleepy Joe Biden was so heavily involved in passing. That was a dark period in American History, but has Sleepy Joe apologized? No!” Trump tweeted earlier this week.
“Anyone associated with the 1994 Crime Bill will not have a chance of being elected. In particular, African Americans will not be able to vote for you. I, on the other hand, was responsible for Criminal Justice Reform, which had tremendous support, & helped fix the bad 1994 Bill!” he added.
Trump is no criminal justice reform warrior.
"In addition to supporting an expansion of capital punishment, Trump has publicly encouraged police to be rough with criminal suspects. He has tried to create an impression that violent crime in American cities was out of control when he took office — recall that 'American carnage' was a theme of his inaugural address — even though data shows it has steadily declined since the era of the 1994 crime bill," wrote Vox's Aaron Rupar. "Trump himself has never apologized for taking out a full paper ad in the New York Daily News in 1989 calling for the execution of a group of teens called the Central Park Five who were suspected of involvement in a brutal rape but were later exonerated. Trump steadfastly refused to apologize when it became a campaign issue in 2016 — 14 years after the actual rapist confessed, with DNA evidence as confirmation."