On Monday, Senator Rand Paul told CBS radio host Dom Giordano that if he were the Republican nominee for president he would attack Hillary Clinton on crime. “I’ll ask Hillary Clinton, what have you done for criminal justice? Your husband passed all the laws that put a generation of black men in prison.”
Paul did not go into detail. If he does, he will discover he is on thin ice. The total federal and state prison population (not broken down by race) grew 49 percent between 1992 (883,593) and 2000 (1,312,354). It would be difficult to establish what portion of this change was caused by Clinton administration actions. Certainly, some administration measures contributed—as did a range of state initiatives. And certainly black men were among those who went to prison in greater numbers during this period—although the reference to putting “a generation of black men in prison” is demagogy.
In fact, as the various “tough on crime” forces played out, black arrest rates dropped 18 percent—from 13,362 per 100,000 in 1992 to 10,955 in 2000. Of course, crime overall dropped during the Clinton administration (and continued dropping).
Did this make a difference for black Americans? Well, the rate of violent crime victimizations for black Americans declined 30 percent between 1992 and 2000—dropping from 50.4 per 1,000 aged 12 and above in 1992 to 35.3 in 2000. In fact, among all racial groups, black American victimization by crime was the highest and declined the most.
Perhaps no one will defend the criminal justice policies of the Clinton administration, but if they do, Rand Paul might be asked whether he is on the side of criminals or on the side of their victims. Or, he might be asked whether he really cares about the safety and security of African Americans.
John P. Walters co-directs Hudson Institute's Center for Substance Abuse Policy Research and was director of Drug Control Policy for President George W. Bush.
At a Manhattan fundraiser yesterday (as noted by The Hill), potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke of the rioting in Baltimore by invoking a theme of the Obama administration: the need for reform of the criminal justice system.
A woman alleged to have been the fixer for Jeffrey Epstein, a pedophile and friend of Bill Clinton, has herself long had ties to the former president of the United States. Indeed, it's clear that even as her associate, Epstein, admitted to procuring sex with someone under the age of 18 and registered as a sex offender in 2008, Ghislaine Maxwell's relationship with the Clintons flourished.
Outgoing Maryland governor Martin O'Malley is commuting the sentences of the state's four remaining inmates on death row. In 2012, Maryland abolished the death penalty, but the law did not apply to those already sentenced for execution. O'Malley, a Democrat, said in an official statement that executions of convicted murderers "make every citizen a party to a legalized killing as punishment."
President Obama hosted "a private dinner with a group of foreign policy experts," the White House announced last night. Among them: Sandy Berger, who was caught stealing and destroying classified documents that related to President Clinton's record on terrorism issues.
President Barack Obama recently went to Chicago to promote his poverty and gun violence initiatives and actually spoke a good deal of truth. “There’s no more important ingredient for success, nothing that would be more important for us reducing violence than strong, stable families, which means we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood,” he said.
The Justice Department announced that 16 folks would be sent to prison for hate crimes against Amish folks. The defendants, who range in age from 23 to 67 and all lived in Ohio, were found guilty of "forcibly remov[ing] beard and head hair from practitioners of the Amish faith with whom they had ongoing religious disputes."
In campaign remarks yesterday at the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago, Illinois, President Barack Obama praised his adopted city, where he lived before becoming president of the United States. "Chicago is an example of what makes this country great," Obama said. His audience applauded.
Illinois Democratic Senate candidate Alexi "Ali G" Giannoulias was senior loan officer at his family bank, Broadway Bank, which authorized loans to convicted organized crime leaders like Michael “Jaws” Giorango (a pimp and bookmaker), Demitri Stavropoulos (an illegal gambling operator), and for convicted felon Tony Rezko, as chronicled here.
Broadway Bank, owned and operated by the Giannoulias family, was closed by the feds just two weeks ago, which led the spokesman of his political opponent Mark Kirk to give this statement to the New York Times: “While years of risky lending schemes, hot money investments and loans to organized crime led to today’s failure, it’s a sad day for Broadway Bank employees who may lose their jobs due to Mr. Giannoulias’s reckless business practices.”