Hillary Proposes Eliminating 5 Year Mandatory Minimum Penalty for Crack

Update: Praise for Hillary's plan from some American Mayors.

Hillary Clinton outlined her anti-crime proposal in Philadelphia today.

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton would eliminate the federal mandatory five-year sentence for crack cocaine users as part of a $4 billion-a-year anti-crime initiative designed, in part, to steer many nonviolent offenders away from prison.

Hillary signed as co-sponsor of one of the bills to eliminate the crack cocaine disparity, Joe Biden's S. 1711, some months ago. Obama signed onto the same bill recently. (Note: It is not the pending bill I would have signed onto as it contains too many law enforcement provisions and tougher penalties for other crimes.)

Details of the plan are here. Hillary also calls for funding more cops on the street. As for paying for the $4 billion plan: [More...]

Clinton said she would pay for the $4 billion initiative with savings to be identified by a commission she will assign to "identify unnecessary and outdated corporate subsidies for elimination." Critics of deficit spending generally urge campaigns to be more specific in saying how they will pay for new programs.

Under Clinton's proposal, states would compete for $1 billion in annual grants to combat recidivism. It would "promote tough but fair" changes to probation practices and to existing programs meant to keep many nonviolent drug offenders out of prison.

The goal is to make punishment more certain for those who violate their probation, she said, while also enhancing efforts to help former drug users stay clean and thereby avoid prison. Clinton said the currently one-fourth of all former inmates who committed nonviolent crimes return to prison "as violent offenders."

I'll read the plan (as opposed to the AP summary) and report back. I don't expect to like it, nor do I expect she will differ in any significant way from Obama. Neither is my ideal candidate on these issues.

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    Solutions for America (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by TalkRight on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:36:45 AM EST
    Another example of why she gets it and Obama and McCain don't!!

    She is the solutions mama not Obama!!

    In his defense... (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by Chimster on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:51:58 AM EST
    I think Obama will come up with the same proposal on Monday.

    Of course! (none / 0) (#6)
    by Josmt on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:59:57 AM EST
    He'll come up with something similar, AFTER she has proposed it... as always...

    And then.... (none / 0) (#13)
    by TalkRight on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:36:32 PM EST
    Media as usual will credit him.. and tell how he is the right person to deal with this issue.. and also because [in their eyes] he would have mesmerized them with his fundamentally correct plan!!
    And then suddenly Hillary will become the monster because she had no right to bring a solution for this problem.. she was trying to be divisive and .. not sure what more spin they would throw at it..

    as for now I bet media will not even discuss this up till the saint Obama shows his own dexterous plans ..


    He WAS the right person, in Jan. 2005. (none / 0) (#27)
    by Ben Masel on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:15:25 PM EST
    See my 'Backstory," below.

    as i said.. NBC on it's way.. (none / 0) (#38)
    by TalkRight on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:22:57 PM EST
    PHILADELPHIA -- Clinton is taking a page from her husband's playbook, today announcing a plan to put 100,000 new police officers on America's streets as part of her anti-crime agenda.

    Not sure why they have to belittle anything that she says... Isn't it important that she is taking up issue's head on and proposing solutions for those issues that no one is talking about now and they actually matter to the voters..


    Actually he's a few issues behind now (none / 0) (#17)
    by nycstray on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:44:52 PM EST
    Check their sites for the catching up he needs to do  ;)

    He Addressed this 6 months ago (none / 0) (#18)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:49:27 PM EST
    But don't let me stop you from jumping on the bandwagon before you source your propaganda.

    Just Talk@obama (none / 0) (#24)
    by TalkRight on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:08:03 PM EST
    he may have "Talked" about this and many issues [like all politicians do].. but he still has not come up with an elaborate plan.. a right solution for the problem. Just Talk is not enough...

    just like (none / 0) (#25)
    by TalkRight on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:12:50 PM EST
    he talked about mortgage but left Hillary to come up with the right solution.. and then copy.
    Like China and other "tough" issues.. he let's Hillary lead... Like his Iraq withdrawal is more closer now to the solution given by Hillary [as indicated by Samantha Power]. And in senate he always takes a cue from Hillary while voting.. [or is absent]

    You obviously have no regard for the truth. (none / 0) (#42)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:37:41 PM EST
    Their Iraq withdrawal plans are now more distinct than ever with her recent comment that she will not take cues from commanders on the ground.

    The fact that you say he "always" does this indicates you're more content to jump on generalizations than taking the trouble to source for true and accurate statements.

    If she's advocating.... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:39:18 PM EST
    for "more cops on the street", she don't get it either.

    I've gotta dodge enough mercenaries out and about everyday as it is...no mas.  Here in NY cops are already manufacturing crime to keep busy, we don't need no more jackboots on the pavement.  Besides the fact we really can't afford it.

    As for crack-cocaine sentencing, wake me up when she proposes a mandatory maximum sentence of zero years, zero days for non-violent drug offenses...anything less is a band aid on a gaping wound...not to mention tyranny.


    Sooner or later (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by myiq2xu on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:37:49 AM EST
    We have to do something.

    The prisons are overcrowded, and we keep building more.  When will the madness end?

    Protecting people from the dangers of drugs by introducing them to the dangers of prison is stupid.

    Good for Her (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Deadalus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:29:19 PM EST
    This is exactly the type of issue we Democrats should be standing up for, and I'm glad she's using the last weeks of her campaign to push the issues she cares about.

    Outcomes (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:32:50 PM EST
    These policies have to be linked.  Addiction is also a healthcare issue.  Without adequate rehab programs and healthcare to help addicts there is no rehab.  People cannot be jailed and dumped in communities where there is no hope for recovery without the proper services.  We now have an aging population of addicts that are dual diagnosed.  These polices cannot be one thing at a time.  We need a complete agenda:  Healthcare, housing and reform in the laws.  Otherwise all we do is bandaids.  

    Obama knows a good idea when he sees one... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by OrangeFur on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:41:10 PM EST
    Most of the time, anyway. Too bad they're all someone else's ideas.

    4 billion for this, (1.00 / 1) (#32)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:39:31 PM EST
    2 billion for that, 800 million for this....did Hillary check with China to see if they will extend our credit limit?  

    Last I checked we are in the red....

    It must be Obama who checks with (none / 0) (#36)
    by TalkRight on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:14:38 PM EST
    China.. [he recently said.. we cannot press China for human rights because it is our Banker!" and I understand because he comes with the same policies like Mr Bush.. he has yet to account for how he is going to pay for the Health Care package he is proposes since it costs at least 50 Billion dollars more than Clinton's since it is not universal.. while Clinton accounts for every dollar she lays out in all her plans. !

    Mr Obama's answer: If you ask us we will be happy to tell you how we account for that money. It's just not on our Website!!


    We're talking about Clinton.... (none / 0) (#39)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:31:01 PM EST
    not Obama.  For the record, I support my mailman over any of the 3 stooges.

    Got a link to Clinton's accounting for all this pandering?  I just checked her site and can't find any.  Thanks in advance:)


    Here.. in case you missed (none / 0) (#40)
    by TalkRight on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:13:51 PM EST
    Solutions for Safe and Secure Communities Now

    A Commitment to Fiscal Discipline: The cost of Senator Clinton's crime agenda is approximately $4 billion in new investments per year. This cost will be financed without increasing the deficit by allocating a portion of the savings from Senator Clinton's Corporate Subsidy Commission. This commission will identify unnecessary and outdated corporate subsidies for elimination and present its recommendations in full to Congress for an up-or-down vote - without amendments. [American Dream Initiative, 2005.]  This approach will ensure that special interests cannot interfere to protect their own subsidies.


    Yale economist John Donohue found that each $1.4 billion invested in the COPS program mentioned by Hillary is likely to generate a benefit to society from $6 billion to $12 billion.

    The important thing is Hillary has laid out her solutions after doing her homework.. she is not just chit chatting.. we should do this or that.. she has specifics .. unlike most politicians [and Obama in particular}


    Got it.... (none / 0) (#45)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:30:59 PM EST
    bullsh*t paid for by bullsh*t.  

    I hope my town gets a drug market elimination grant!/snark

    That plan is a police state fearing Americans nightmare.

    As for the "Corporate Subsidy Commission", sounds great, good luck in the Senate getting the porkers to agree on who gets no grease.  Needless to say I'm skeptical.


    skeptical or not (none / 0) (#48)
    by TalkRight on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 10:39:10 AM EST
    It is on her website.. and that was your earlier criticism . [you can't find it on her website]. ..
    ps: I can go pages of rant about my skepticism about the whole Obamaism and the once in a lifetime politician Bullsh*t.. but I will save you the agony of reading it... hoping you do would do the same and spare the readers here..

    The issue of overly punitive drug laws (none / 0) (#3)
    by madamab on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:47:34 AM EST
    is an important one. Too many AA's are in jail because of those laws.

    My ideal candidate would be looking very deeply into the issue of prison reform. Is there anything we can do to actually rehabilitate non-violent criminals rather than punish them?

    Seems to me that people who use drugs need treatment, not a long stint in jail.

    I want harsh penalties for (none / 0) (#5)
    by MarkL on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 11:52:01 AM EST
    dealers. For users I want treatment and sensible punishments.

    we already have them (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:07:06 PM EST
    there's a difference between harsh and draconian. What we have now is draconian. They need to be changed.

    Most dealers (none / 0) (#10)
    by myiq2xu on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:25:42 PM EST
    are users that sell to support their own addictions.

    The myth of the "pusher" is that they intentionally get people addicted to create customers.  That's just not true.


    The pusher myth.... (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:37:32 PM EST
    well said...in reality it is the exact opposite.

    I'm the one calling the bush-doctor to come by and sell me something...never the other way around.  There is no "cold-calling" in the drug trade...at least at the retail level.


    Well, actually, we should distinguish (none / 0) (#44)
    by jccamp on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 06:49:39 PM EST
    between an inner-city guy standing on a corner selling crack, in a drive-by open air market atmosphere, and the suburban purveyor of weed who delivers. The average crack seller is a user too, although most drug organizations have their internal standards about how much crack-addled behavior they tolerate from employees, before they take some employee job-action via the AK-47. Crack organizations may not expend much effort to create new users - unfortunately, drug users are never in short supply, but the organizations do tend to destroy the neighborhoods through corruption and a climate of violence. Entire generations of youngsters grow up, seeing the cool people with all the cool equipment are the dealers. Doesn't get any worse than that.

    I'n not a big fan of Hillary, but her plan seems realistic (within the built-in schizophrenic nature of drug laws) and well considered. Personally, I'd like to see all drugs decriminalized and all those billions spent on the War on Drugs (what a laugh) spent on drug rehab. If the profit does not exist for criminals to sell drugs, we certainly couldn't do any worse than the present. Maybe make the only criminal offenses selling controlled substances to children. i just don't see any politician on the horizon who dares to make that suggestion. too bad.


    There's a difference, no doubt.... (none / 0) (#46)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 09:43:35 PM EST
    but even at the cop spots and on the corners nobody is really pushing, the customers are there, no need to chase 'em.

    Nobody wants to see the ruthless criminal drug enterprises out of business more than me, which is why Hillary's sounds like plan the same old sh*t that just adds the misery of prison to the mix.  She says some good things about the prison problem, but won't commit to necessary steps.  Where does she think these "drug market eradication grants" will lead to, less people in handcuffs?

    This is a big issue for me, which is why I'm voting for Gravel or whoever the third name is.


    Actually, i think you just hit (none / 0) (#47)
    by jccamp on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:24:57 PM EST
    the issue right on the head. You can't promise to keep non-violent offenders out of prison, to remove draconian penalties, and at the same time, promise to remove the drug scourge from the neighborhoods, put more cops on the job, etc etc. Between the huge potential profits in trafficking, and substance abuse & recreational needs of just regular people, threats of jail time are only meaningful as deterrents when they approach levels more suitable for homicide, crimes against children, like that.  
    But at least Hillary had the whatever to take a position with some obvious thought put into it.
    But I'm with you on the general premise - the criminal sanctions for drug possession are both stupid & counterproductive.

    So what kind of sentences do you propose.... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:51:16 PM EST
    for the CEO's of Anheiser Busch, Phillip Morris, and Pfizer Mark?  How about your local liquor store owner or pharmacist?

    Since "dealers" should be punished harshly...


    I'm right there with ya (none / 0) (#21)
    by blogtopus on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:58:29 PM EST
    I think that the only reason 'street drugs' are illegal is because you can make them at home.

    NOBODY should dare take money away from the rich; you'll end up in jail or worse.


    That's not the only reason.... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:05:21 PM EST
    then you have citizens so afraid of freedom that they would gladly trade it away for a version of Moussolini's "trains running on time".

    Wow. (none / 0) (#7)
    by rooge04 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:01:00 PM EST
    Does she have a plan for everything? Seems like it.  Oh man I want her to be President so badly!

    That's what worries me.... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:33:35 PM EST
    Probably the only thing that kept us from going completely into a tyranny tailspin over the last 8 years was G-Dub's incompetence.  

    Seeing as Hillary is infinitely more intelligent and competent than G-Dub, and has shown a willingness to go along with the tyranny tailspin (Patriot Act, Iraq War vote, support for drug war, etc, etc,)...that makes me very very nervous.


    The Crack law was poorly (none / 0) (#9)
    by bjorn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:24:28 PM EST
    designed and had the unintended consequence of putting disproportionate numbers of poor and people of color in prison.  Clinton is out front on every policy and issue that disproportionately affects those living in poverty and discriminatory practices against people of color.  This is why I am so baffled by Obama's continued 85% support in the AA community.  

    "Unintended" consequence? (none / 0) (#23)
    by Ben Masel on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:07:34 PM EST
    I hope it was (none / 0) (#41)
    by bjorn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:28:06 PM EST
    unintended. From my perspective, the people that made the stupid law operate on the assumption that tough punishment is a deterrent.  IMO, that is a false assumption, but they seem to really believe it!  Anyway, I don't think people sat around and said let's make a law that puts more AAs in prison.  That is what happened, but I think the consequence was based on faulty thinking, not racism.

    Good on Hillary. (none / 0) (#14)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:36:54 PM EST
    And it's about time, considering she's already had 8 years in the Senate to do something.

    fwiw, BO said 6 months ago that he'd stop the sentancing disparity as POTUS:

    Crack Sentencing: From 'What He Said' To 'What We Did'
    Posted October 3, 2007 | 10:29 AM (EST)

    "Let's not make the punishment for crack cocaine that much more severe than the punishment for powder cocaine when the real difference between the two is the skin color of the people using them," he said last week.

    "Judges think that's wrong. Republicans think that's wrong. Democrats think that's wrong, and yet it's been approved by Republican and Democratic Presidents because no one has been willing to brave the politics and make it right."

    Senator Obama declared, "That will end when I am President," but you have to wonder why it can't end now.

    Three bills are currently pending in the Senate seeking to address the racial bias in crack and powder cocaine sentencing.

    One is from Senator Joe Biden and has two Democratic co-sponsors [Kerry and Finegold. Hillary jumped on the bandwagon as the 4th co-sponsor in Dec, '07].

    The others, introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch and Jeff Session respectively, have support from some Senate Democrats (there are two additional bills in the House).

    While the bills offer varying solutions, there seems to be an agreement that a problem exists among Republicans and Democrats in national politics.

    Quoting One of his statements is misleading (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:50:10 PM EST
    Since he's said many different things on the issue and been inconsistent. I've written about this numerous times.

    With all due respect, (none / 0) (#34)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:08:34 PM EST
    all the candidates say a lot of stuff but I think you and I both agree that what's actually relevant is what they do, and having had 8 years to do something, she's done nothing. Which, to be fair, exactly equals what he's done. But they both say they'll do stuff if elected.

    Then they will say.... (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:13:53 PM EST
    what they will do once re-elected.

    They never seem to get around to the actual "doing":)


    You got that right. (none / 0) (#37)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:22:51 PM EST
    "Renew the Assault Weapons Ban" (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ben Masel on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:55:55 PM EST
    Handing Wisconsin's Electoral Votes to McCain.

    Some backstory (none / 0) (#26)
    by Ben Masel on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:13:12 PM EST
    Obama pledged as a Senate Candidate to work on ending Mandatory Minimum sentences. i'd extracted a similar, on the record pledge from Feingold in spring '04. come Feb. '05, Russ told me he was holding off so that Obama could take the lead position, and he'd back him up.

    Come the Howard U debate in last June, all the Candidate Senators called for varying degrees of reform. (Biden was the pleasant surprise there, as he'd sponsored most of the bad drugwar bills of the last 30 years, often with Orrin Hatch.)

    I saw russ at the State D Convention right after the Howard debate, suggested it was time he moved a bill. He'd missed the debate, flying in, was surprised at my news. "Even Hillary?"

    I'm not sure exactly which of the Candidates weenied out, but it's clear that Russ was not able to secure the commitments he felt he'd need to actually pass anything.