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NEW YORK (AP) — Pointing to a wave of violence in Baltimore, Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that the nation’s criminal justice system has gotten “out of balance” and must be restored through steps such as the use of body cameras by every police department in the country.

“It’s time to change our approach,” Clinton said in her first major policy address since launching her presidential campaign earlier this month. “It’s time to end the era of mass incarceration.”

Clinton spoke in the days after violence and protests have swept through the streets of Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a spinal-cord injury while in police custody. Clinton condemned those instigating further violence, saying it disrespected the Gray family and only compounded the tragedy.

“The violence has to stop,” she said.

In a speech at Columbia University, Clinton spoke of protests over policing in Ferguson, Missouri; Charleston, South Carolina; and in New York, and repudiated policies dating to her husband Bill Clinton’s presidency that lengthened prison terms while putting more officers on the streets. “We need a true national debate about how to reduce our prison population,” she said.

“We don’t want to create another incarceration generation.”

Clinton said federal funds for local and state law enforcement should not be used to buy “weapons of war” and said every police department in the country should have body cameras “to record interactions between officers on patrol and suspects. That will improve transparency and accountability. It will help protect good people on both sides of the lens.”

She voiced support for alternative punishments for lower-level offenders and the need to address substance abuse and mental illness, which she said came up repeatedly during her recent campaign trips to Iowa and New Hampshire. Clinton also cited what she described as an “unmistaken and undeniable” pattern of violence against unarmed black men in the country and the unfairness of black men being more likely to be stopped and searched by police officers, charged with crimes and sentenced to longer prison terms.

“We have to come to terms with some hard truths about race and justice in America,” Clinton said.

Criminal justice reform, however, should not be placed in a silo and separated from a lack of economic and educational opportunities in many communities, Clinton said. And many people suffer the consequences of roughly 1.5 million “missing African-American men” who are imprisoned, making them unable to care for their children or provide for their families.

“We can’t separate the unrest we see in our streets from the cycle of poverty and despair that hollowed out those neighborhoods,” she said.

Clinton said criminal justice reform had found some bipartisan consensus in Congress, noting the work of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican seeking his party’s presidential nomination, along with that of New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat.

“It is rare to see Democrats and Republicans agree on anything today but we’re beginning to agree on this,” she said. “We need to restore balance to our criminal justice system. Of course it is not enough just to agree … we actually have to work together to get the job done. We have to deliver real reforms that can be felt on our streets.”

Paul’s campaign quickly responded, saying that Clinton was glossing over her husband’s record on criminal justice that she supported as first lady.

“Not only is Hillary Clinton trying to undo some of the harm inflicted by the Clinton administration, she is now emulating proposals introduced by Sen. Rand Paul over the last several years, and we welcome her to the fight,” said Paul spokesman Sergio Gor.

In December, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $263 million for police body cameras and additional law enforcement training. The request came after Obama held a series of meetings with law enforcement officials, Cabinet members and civil rights leaders following the death of 18- year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson.

The president’s proposal would have allocated $75 million over three years to help states purchase body cameras. The money would have paid for about 50,000 devices, though Congress never acted on the president’s request.

Clinton spoke at the David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum, named after the former New York mayor.

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(Photo Source: AP)

8 thoughts on “Clinton: Baltimore Shows Justice System ‘Out of Balance’

  1. Oh yes!, just what we need a person that taught her child that the police are pigs. Hillary Sodom Clinton has so much baggage that she would need a second vehicle for Bill and Monica. Then all the suspicions about her, like the Rose Law firm and Vince Foster, hiring hookers for Billy, Benghazi, the IRS scandal, her E-mail account. She’s a real winner!. She will bring peace to America….. after half the population is dead. Vote Ben Carson, if you want intelligence in the White House.

  2. Bill Clinton was responsible for the concept of mass incarceration with the ” Three strikes your out” rule in the 1990’s…did she mention she wanted to un-do what her husband did in her speech?? Lol!!

  3. @Chris he help get them health care. I worked for GM . I’m able to receive a pension that I earned bc he saved the auto industry. 401ks are stronger unemployment is down and the economy is stronger. And he had no help from the republicans. The obstructionist. Need I say more. I’m not niave about Hillary or any other politician. I watch the shit everyday.

    • chris on said:

      Candace, health care that most can’t afford(don’t overlook the deductibles), how many people in Baltimore, Watts, Detroit, Ferguson, Trenton, Camden, the South Bronx have a 401k account? Unemployment down? In February, the unemployment rate for African-Americans was 10.4 percent, while the comparable rates for whites, Hispanics and Asians were 4.7 percent, 6.6 percent and 4.0 percent, in that order. Labor participation is at historical lows. The economy is flat. Like I said earlier, he and the democrats are more concerned with consolidating power, that is why their main concern is illegal immigrants. The democratic party takes the black community for granted. Open your eyes

  4. Linda on said:

    Hillary is only attempting to garner the African-American vote in 2016-she could really care less about what went down in Baltimore and what is wrong with Amerykah!!!

    F her!

    • Chris on said:

      Candance, are you that easily duped? Obama promised black America to make things better, he hasn’t delivered. Do you think Hillary is coming to the rescue.
      Oh, I know your first instinct is to say “those nasty racist republiklans” in congress stopped him. Obama had control of both houses in his first two years and could have done everything for the black community. Instead, he worked on his legacy, Obamacare. He paid back his union overlords. He and the rest of the democratic machine devised ways to increase democratic voters by welcoming illegal aliens to this country with promises of jobs, welfare, driver licenses and in state college tuition.

      Please list what he has done for African Americans.

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