In criminal justice push, Hillary Clinton to call for end to racial profiling

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hillary Clinton to call for ending racial profiling and disparities in crack cocaine sentences.

Hillary Clinton will call today for a shake-up of drug laws in the US which unfairly discriminate against African Americans, but activists have called for the Presidential hopeful to make a bolder move. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will send 20 to 30 special operations forces to Syria to serve as military advisers in the fight against Islamic State, a U.S. official said.Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton will unveil new specifics of her criminal justice platform in an Atlanta speech Friday by calling for legislation to ban racial profiling by law enforcement, and for eliminating the remaining distinction between crack and powder cocaine in drug sentencing. The additional U.S. troops will operate in a limited “advise and assist” capacity, without changing President Barack Obama’s overall mission to combat the militant group, a separate U.S. official said.

They come as a renewed national focus on race, justice and policing continues to influence the ongoing presidential contest, especially in the Democratic primary. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of Drugs Policy Action, said he will welcome the move but Mrs Clinton will have to make “much bolder” commitments in the future. “President Obama took that position [on cocaine] since he first ran against her eight years ago. Clinton will say Friday that as president she would support legislation eliminating any distinction between the two forms of the drug, meaning that those sentenced for crimes involving crack cocaine would receive the same sentences as those sentenced for crimes with powder cocaine.

A spokesperson for Mrs Clinton told the Washington Post that Mrs Clinton’s comments today on policing, incarceration and re-entry into society are just a small part of a full program to be announced in the coming days. A law from 1986 stipulated that a person convicted of possessing crack cocaine got the same prison sentence as someone holding 100 times the amount of powder cocaine.

Clinton has previously called for an end of the era of “mass incarceration” and has said that she supports putting body cameras on all police officers. “In this campaign, Hillary Clinton has said we must recognize some hard truths about race and justice in America in order to reform our criminal justice system,” the statement said. The policy proposals come as 2016 candidates continue to grapple how to handle the growing national momentum for criminal justice reform and how to interact with the Black Lives Matter protest movement, a response to the deaths of unarmed black men and women including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Sandra Bland. All three Democratic candidates have each held meetings with Black Lives Matter-affiliated activists and have vowed during stump speeches and debate performances to prioritize criminal justice issues if elected.

Sanders has unveiled a detailed racial justice platform, which calls for federal funding for police body cameras, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and abolishing civil asset forfeiture programs. Earlier this week, he told an audience of college students that he would favor removing marijuana from the federal government’s list of outlawed drugs. “Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use,” Sanders said. “That’s wrong.

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