Former president Bill Clinton has been lauded by the Democratic establishment for bringing the party to prominence in the 1990s. However, Clinton admitted that one of his own policies has been responsible for mass incarceration and overcrowding prisons.
Clinton spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday (May 6) at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Morroco. In 1994, Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act into law which included a federal “three strikes” provision which gave stiff prison sentences for third-time offenders. Clinton took the bold step in admitting the law’s failure and how prisons are far too crowded today as a result.
“The problem is the way it was written and implemented is we cast too wide a net and we had too many people in prison,” said Clinton. “And we wound up putting so many people in prison that there wasn’t enough money left to educate them, train them for new jobs and increase the chances when they came out so they could live productive lives.”
The comments from Clinton come at a sensitive time as his wife, Hillary, has been pegged as the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election. While Mrs. Clinton has been outspoken about prison overpopulation in times past, she was supportive of her husband’s bill in 1994 according to CNN.
While Clinton admitted his role the signing of the bill, he put some of the blame on Republicans who pushed for the controversial three-strikes provision.
Watch CNN’s interview with Bill Clinton below.