Saturday, May 2, 2015

Clinton's Criminal Justice System

During Hillary Clinton's speech at Columbia University last Wednesday, April 29, she spoke about reforming the criminal justice system. Not only did she speak about the prison system in general, but she spoke about how prisons have become mental health institutions as well. Clinton recently announced that she is running for president, and has already begun her campaign. Once I read that she had made a speech about the criminal justice system, I immediately wondered what prompted her to discuss this controversial topic at the beginning of her campaigning.

In her speech, she addressed the recent events in Baltimore as well as other similar events that have happened over the last year, like Michael Brown. Clinton claimed that, "we have allowed our criminal justice system to get out of balance" and "our legal system can be and all too often is stacked against those who have the least power". I find both of these statements very interesting because she seems to be siding against the prison and justice system, something that politicians like herself have influenced. I agree with both of her statements, especially after my research for the junior theme, but I still wonder if this was too risky of a move for her in her presidential campaign. She seems to want to "undo the mass incarceration system" that has evolved and grown over the past couple of years, especially during her husband Bill Clinton's presidency. Although Bill Clinton did not start the mass incarceration, it grew during his presidency.

Increased 225% over this amount of time while population only grew 1/3
Clinton wants to change the way our criminal justice system works. Crime rates are not increasing, but incarceration rates are. She doesn't seem to have a plan yet, but I find it admirable that she is addressing this controversial issue during currents events. I don't know if there is a right answer, or any answer that will solve the problem completely, but I think it is good that a presidential candidate is bringing the question to the table. However, in the future I wonder if she will address the mentally ill imprisoned more than she did for this speech. Can our criminal justice system be "fixed"?

1 comment:

  1. Sarah, Interesting topics here. You're right about the difficulty HRC has in advocating different policies from ones her husband held. Her experience/record is both her greatest asset and her her biggest liability. This post could be focused further. Offer a punchier title and a clearer "thesis." But, I'm glad to see you are keeping an eye on the election and the "construction" of issues -- and candidates!