Capital Region Legal News

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bill Clinton Disavows His Anti-Crime Legislation

Can you serve hard time for a minor crime?

In 1994, responding to fears of increasing crime and the danger it presented to American society, Former President Bill Clinton enacted a law that was instrumental in lengthening criminal sentences and ushering in what, his wife, Hillary Clinton now refers to as "the incarceration generation." Designed to keep citizens safer, Bill Clinton's anti-crime legislation resulted in the imprisonment of those convicted of even minor crimes, for what he now admits was "way too long." He now expresses regret that the legislation has led to skewed, overly lengthy criminal sentences.

In recent years, it has become achingly apparent that the criminal justice system in this country needs a major overhaul and Mr. Clinton is now pushing for reforms promised by Hillary in her campaign for President.

Mr. Clinton now admits that he went overboard in his attempt to be tough on crime and to promote a compromise with the Republicans, who were adamant about lowering crime rates. The steps Mr. Clinton took in his landmark legislation included:

• Putting 100,000 more police officers on the street
• Banning the use of certain assault rifles
• Enacting background checks for many gun purchases
• Allocating increased resources to fight violence against women
Though crime rates did come down after the legislation was enacted, representing the sharpest drop and the first eight-year decline in crime history, reducing a wave of gang violence that had been terrifying communities, longer prison sentences under both state and federal law resulted. According to Bill Clinton himself, too many low-level criminals were incarcerated for extended periods of time. In his admission, he stated that, "I signed a bill that made the problem worse."

In 2015, there is nearly twice the number of prisoners in this country than there was when Mr. Clinton took office. The 2.2 million people now behind bars in the United States represent a widely skewed percentage of Americans compared to prison populations in other countries. Although this country contains only 5 percent of the world’s population, it has 20 percent of the world's prison population. There is a groundswell of liberal and conservative support for the creation of bipartisan legislation to reduce imprisonment of nonviolent offenders in the United States.

If you or a member of your family is dealing with an issue of arrest or imprisonment, the capable and compassionate criminal defense attorneys of Ianniello Anderson are available to assist you. Serving clients in the Albany, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Troy, and the entire Northeastern NY areas at (518) 350.7755.   

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