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April 11, 2008

So much in (and missing from) Senator Clinton's anti-crime proposal

As first noted here, Senator Clinton proposed to spend $4 billion a year on anti-crime measures in a big speech in Philadelphia today.  Details on her proposal are now available in this loooong press release on her website.  Interestingly, the press release is titled "Hillary Clinton Sets Goal Of Cutting Murder Rate In Half: 'Solutions For Safe & Secure Communities Now' Plan Will Provide 100,000 New Cops And Invest $1 Billion To Reduce Number Of Repeat Offenders."  There is almost too much included in the plan to take it all in.

Perhaps what is as notable as what's in the Clinton plan is what is missing.  For example, consider this press report on the plan, headlined "Clinton gun shy in Pennsylvania crime address."  Here are snippets:

Hillary Clinton today declared a goal of cutting the nation's big-city murder rate in half, addressing an issue that has dominated politics here but avoiding a mention of the one thing that local officials see as a consensus solution to their crime problem: new gun laws....

Clinton talked about gangs and drugs as a cause of homicides, but mentioned guns only in passing. She noted “a direct correlation between the illegal gun sales and homicides,” as she proposed a new initiative to crack down on interstate gun trafficking and allow federal agencies to share information on the transfer of guns.  In addition, Clinton said she would work to renew the assault-weapons ban, signed by President Clinton in 1994 but allowed to lapse a decade later.

"She's being respectful of what's really her base," said Ken Lawrence, a Pennsylvania Democratic consultant neutral in the presidential campaign. "But I don't know how you talk about homicide in Philadelphia without talking about guns."

Relatedly, I noticed that the Clinton press release says nothing about sentencing reform issues and says very little about mass incarceration.  In addition, there was nary a mention of the death penalty, pro or con, or about the on-going debate over lethal injection protocols or about wrongful convictions in capital cases and non-capital cases. 

Interestingly, regarding mandatory minimums, the press release does have this notable line: "At the federal level, Hillary will reform mandatory minimums for non-violent offenders, starting by eliminating the mandatory minimum for simple possession of crack cocaine and eliminating the disparity between crack and powder cocaine."  Of course, she could mean that she plans to increase the mandatory penalty for powder cocaine in order to deal with the crack/powder disparity, but I seriously hope that's not exactly what she has in mind.

April 11, 2008 at 05:52 PM | Permalink


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Since she signed onto Biden's S. 1711 as a co-sponsor in November -- the bill that calls for equalizing powder and cocaine penalties -- that's hardly a fair speculation. (Obama signed onto the same bill a few weeks ago.)

Posted by: TalkLeft | Apr 11, 2008 9:11:48 PM

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