Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke on the riots and injustice in a speech she gave Wednesday at Columbia University. Speaking with passion Mrs. Clinton discussed the death of Freddy Gray calling it tragic. Freddy Gray died while in police custody.
In her first major policy speech, Clinton made a plea to fix the justice system, a justice system that often finds a disproportionate amount of African-American men compared to white men in jail, calling the system “out of balance.” She listed the names of African-American men who had been shot by white police officers in the past few months.
“There is something profoundly wrong when African-American men are still far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes and sentenced to longer prison terms than are meted out to their white counterparts.” she said.
Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke of the riots and injustice in her speech after the violence in Baltimore streets has put presidential candidates under pressure to address the issue. Clinton has called for an end to the “era of mass incarcerations,” and for police to wear body cameras, saying that the cameras will protect the good people on both sides of the lens. Clinton addressed the Baltimore riots saying that the violence has to stop, and that communities’ benefit when there is respect for the law and the law respects everyone in the community.
“For every tragedy caught on tape, there surely have been many more that remained invisible,” she said. “This is a common-sense step.”
With 1.5 million African-American men “missing ” from communities, due to incarceration and premature death, it perpetuates the cycle or poverty and prison. Without the mass incarceration that United States practices there would be less people living in poverty.
Some of the reforms she is calling for are to remove non-violent drug offenders out of prison and into treatment and rehabilitation programs, alternative punishments for low-level offenders, and minors a Clinton aide said. Her proposals are also being embraced by other candidates, Senator Rand Paul has been calling for similar reforms, saying that the United States locks up to many people for minor crimes. Tea party Republican have also been raising concerns about the inequities in the justice system making this an issue for both Democrats and Republicans.
Clinton may have a hurdle to overcome as many of the policies that she is now championing against were brought about by the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The act was passed during her husband, former President Bill Clinton’s administration. The law puts $30.2 billion more towards building more prisons, and to increasing police officers on the streets. The law also created tougher penalties for drug users. Her speech, some analyst say has been a way to repudiate those policies.
Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke of the riots and injustice in our court system, making her the first presidential candidate to do so, also making it the first speech that really touched on her policies. Some of the policies such as body cameras are not new, but other reforms she spoke of are.
Photo by Michael Fleshman – Creativecommons Flickr License