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dalton

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"Just before the New Hampshire primary, Bill Clinton famously flew back to Arkansas to personally oversee the execution of a mentally impaired African-American inmate named Ricky Ray Rector. The "New Democrat" spoke on the campaign trail of being tougher on criminals than Republicans; and the symbolism of the Rector execution was followed by a series of Clinton "tough on crime" measures, including: a $30 billion crime bill that created dozens of new federal capital crimes; new life-sentence rules for some three-time offenders; mandatory minimums for crack and crack cocaine possession; billions of dollars in funding for prisons; extra funding for states that severely punished convicts; limited judges' discretion in determining criminal sentences; and so on. There is very strong evidence that these policies had a small impact on actual crime rates, totally out of proportion to their severity.

There is also very strong evidence that these policies contributed to the immiseration of vast numbers of black (and also white) Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder, according to the well-known conclusions of journalists, academics and other criminal justice experts. Federal funding for public housing fell by $17 billion (a 61 percent reduction) under Bill Clinton's tenure; federal funding for corrections rose by $19 billion (an increase of 171 percent), according to Michelle Alexander's seminal work, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." The federal government's new priorities redirected nearly $1 billion in state spending for higher education to prison construction. Clinton put a permanent eligibility ban for welfare or food stamps on anyone convicted of a felony drug offense (including marijuana possession). He prohibited drug felons from public housing. Any liberal arts grad with an HBO account can tell you the consequences for poor, black American cities like Baltimore. As Alexander writes, "More than any other president, [Clinton] created the current racial undercaste."

I wouldn't be surprised if ol Bill has profited after pumping in so much money to the prison system while president.

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