JPI Opposes Clinton’s Anti-Crime Plan

According to the Justice Policy Institute, Hillary Clinton’s anti-crime package (see my earlier post here) “ignores critical research that finds that investments in employment, education, housing and treatment for those who need it is the most effective and fiscally-responsible way to improve public safety.”

JPI issued a press release this morning taking aim at various aspects of Clinton’s plan, notably her proposal to revive her husband’s jobs program for police officers. “The first COPS was found to be costly and ineffective in reducing crime rates and COPS 2.0 is not an improved version of the first one,” says JPI executive director Sheila Bedi. “COPS was only successful in filling our prisons and jails with people who research shows can be better served with treatment, evidence-based practices, and community-based alternatives that also promote public safety.”

“Not only does the Clinton crime plan lack innovation and forward thinking, it ignores all we know about crime prevention. When people are employed, violent crime decreases,” says Lisa Kung, director of the Southern Center for Human Rights. “One in every one hundred Americans is incarcerated. It is clear that Clinton intends to continue a legacy of policies that will keep Americans paying for more police, more prisons and more punitive measures.”

More, from the JPI press release:

Advocates also believe that Clinton’s opposition to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s decision to make retroactive the changes to sentencing for the thousands of people who had received disproportionately long sentences for crack-cocaine, most of whom are African American, is concerning. Nationwide, from 1995 to 2004, drug abuse violations were the only crime that saw an increase in arrests following the COPS grant. However, a report by JPI release last year, found that while African Americans and whites use and sell drugs at similar rates, African Americans are ten times more likely than whites to be imprisoned for drug offenses mainly due to disparate policing practices, disparate treatment before the courts, mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws, and differences in the availability of drug treatment for African Americans.

According to Families Against Mandatory Minimums, “it would be a cruel injustice to base the crack cocaine reduction on an assessment that these people have suffered under an unjust structure and then deny the benefit of the amendment to the very people whose experiences led the Commission to lower the sentences in the first place.”

“If any of the candidates really wants to do something about crime, then they should invest in policies that increase employment, educational attainment and treatment for people who need it,” says Bedi. “These are proven approaches that reduce crime and recidivism–evidence-based practices, which have undergone rigorous experimental inquiry, and have been shown to have proven public safety benefits.”

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