Rashida Tlaib: ‘I Don’t Think’ Everyone Can Be Rehabilitated, Continues to Support Abolishing Federal Prisons

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) speaks as she endorses 2020 Democratic presidential ho
JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Far-left “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) on Monday attempted to explain her controversial opinion on emptying out federal prisons following her longtime support of the BREATHE Act, which has the goal of closing all federal prisons, admitting that not everyone can be rehabilitated.

Tlaib made the admission during an interview with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, who asked her about her support of the BREATHE Act, which the lawmaker formerly described as a “new version for public safety — a new vision for public safety, one that protects and affirms black lives.”

The act specifically provides a “roadmap for prison abolition.”

“To what extent have you wrestled with releasing any potential downsides of releasing into society every single person who currently in a federal prison?” Swan asked.

“Yeah, I think that everyone’s like, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to just release everybody,’” she began. “That’s not what I’m—”

“That’s what the act says,” Swan noted.

“Yeah, but did you see how many people are mentally ill that are in prison right now,” Tlaib continued, seemingly backtracking on her position.

“But the act you endorsed actually says release everyone in 10 years,” Swan said.

“There are like, human traffickers, child sex [predators]. Do you mean that you don’t actually support that? Because you endorsed the bill,” he said as Tlaib insisted that drug offenders should be rehabilitated.

“Why aren’t you asking me about them?” she asked. “You’re asking me about the human traffickers and others that should be able to be held accountable.”

Swan noted that her proposal “does release everyone.”

“Oh, yeah, within 10 years,” she admitted. “Obviously there’s a process of looking at how we can get away from mass incarceration and move toward care first.”


Tlaib explicitly expressed support for the Black Lives Matter-backed proposal last year:

The bill itself:

…would eliminate federal programs and agencies used to finance and expand the U.S. criminal-legal system, such as the Department of Defense 1033 program, the Edward Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program, Community Oriented Policing Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The conversation on criminal justice reform has ignited once again in the light of the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy. The alleged suspect, Darrell E. Brooks Jr., who has been accused of killing five people and injuring dozens of others after driving into a crowd with an SUV, had quite a rap sheet and was recently released on $1,000 bail, which the Milwaukee County District Attorney said was “inappropriately low.”

Meanwhile, far-left lawmakers, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), are shifting their focus on issues related to what they consider to be “excessive bail” for prisoners.


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