Biden’s Crime Bill Defense Earns Him a Whack from Fact Checkers | NTK Network Biden’s Crime Bill Defense Earns Him a Whack from Fact Checkers

Biden’s Crime Bill Defense Earns Him a Whack from Fact Checkers

Biden claimed the 1994 crime bill, which he championed, did not generate mass incarceration. Experts disagree.

By NTK Staff | 05.16.2019 @10:30am
Biden’s Crime Bill Defense Earns Him a Whack from Fact Checkers

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire earlier this week, former Vice President Joe Biden defended his record supporting the 1994 crime bill.

That legislation, which Biden helped usher through the Senate and was eventually signed by then-President Bill Clinton, instituted a “three-strikes” provision that “required mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for those who commit a federal violent felony if they had two or more previous convictions for violent felonies or drug trafficking crimes, even if the first two were at the state level.”

In 2015, when his wife was running for president, Clinton said of the crime bill, “I signed a bill that made the problem worse. And I want to admit it.”

But Biden is not willing to concede that fact, an issue which could cause problems for him among African-American voters and other criminal justice reform advocates.

Admittedly, the causes for mass incarceration are somewhat nuanced, and the Biden campaign contends that incarceration in the U.S. was already increasing before the bill’s passage. But to say it did not contribute to the trend is just wrong, the Washington Post’s fact checkers say:

Another measure is the incarceration rate per 100,000 U.S. residents. For decades, until the early 1970s, it was about 100 for 100,000 residents. By 1994, the rate had increased to 387 per 100,000. After passage of the crime bill, it kept going up: 478 in 2000, 500 in 2010, 655 in 2016. The United States now has 5 percent of the world’s population — and one quarter of the world’s prisoners.

“There are many factors that contributed to the United States having the world’s highest incarceration rates, but few dispute the crime bill was a contributor. Bill Clinton has acknowledged this,” the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote. “If Biden is going to lay claim to the “Biden Crime Bill,” he also needs to take ownership of some of its flaws apparent a quarter-century later.”

Kessler gave Biden two Pinocchios for his false claim.

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