Sheriff David Clarke: Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act ‘Premised and Crafted on Lies’

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke said at a Capitol Hill press conference Wednesday that a series of “lies” fueled the bipartisan effort pushing the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act.

“This bill was premised and crafted on what I call three lies, the three lies of criminal justice reform,” he said.

“Lie number one: ‘It will only involve low-level offenders.’ First of all, we know that’s not true. If this truly did involve only low-level drug offenders, we wouldn’t put a dent in the federal prison population.” Clarke went on:

Lie number two: That it will reduce crime. We look at Prop 47 in California, a similar plan to empty the jails and prisons in California in favor of this crazy idea of programming. In its time that Prop 47 was passed, in the ten largest cities in California, violent crime has gone up 12.9 percent. And in that time, property crime has gone up in nine of the ten largest cities in California, ten percent. You want to know what this is going to look like three, four, five years down the road? There’s your snapshot. And there’s a lag time in this.

Clarke also criticized the label “low-level drug offenders,” put forth by the bill’s proponents.

“Let me disabuse of the idea of the low-level drug offender,” he said. “If you’re a single mom, living in the American ghetto, and you’re doing everything that you can to try to keep your child and your children away from the dope dealer who stands on the corner every day, or runs a dope house just down the street from yours, it is a huge relief for her to have that person taken out of circulation.”

“‘Low-level’? Much of the violent crime we’re talking about — armed robberies, burglaries, drive-by shootings — are the result of drug war disputes. So forget about the thought of this ‘low-level drug offender,’” he added.


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