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Reminder: Biden And Harris’ Track Record On Imprisoning Minorities Is Abysmal [Opinion]


TOPLINE

Here’s a reminder that, despite their glittering claims, both Kamala Harris and Joe Biden have had terrible records on incarcerating minorities. While Harris was Attorney General of California at least 127,000 African Americans and Hispanic Americans were imprisoned in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) prison system, and Joe Biden’s 1994 “Crime Bill,” which he literally referred to as his own creation, helped to lock in huge disparities in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine.


While the current Biden-Harris administration has been praised by the Left for race-pandering objectives that claim to advance racial equity and fight for minorities, a deeper look into the president and vice president’s histories suggests the duo has done significant damage to the African American and Hispanic communities throughout their political careers. Namely, by helping to put many members of these communities behind bars.

A November 2022 statement released by the White House claims the administration is leading “the charge to ensure that all African American families and communities can live with dignity, safety, respect, and achieve greater economic opportunity.” The Biden-Harris White House even claims it directed the federal government to recognize and “address the lasting impacts of systemic racism on Black communities.” (The most recent “social justice” move carried out by the Biden administration was in late February when Biden’s Department of Commerce appointed a “counselor for equity” to “institutionalize equity across all workstreams and advise senior leadership on policy design and implementation strategies that help advance the equity agenda.”)

But while messaging like this suggests President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris truly care for African Americans and other minorities, their track records say otherwise. Kash Patel, the acting secretary of defense during President Trump’s administration, for example, recently ridiculed Democrats for supporting Biden and Harris while ignoring the fact their leadership has led to an extraordinary number of black people being imprisoned.

Speaking with podcaster Tim Pool, Patel reminded the show’s audience that “Kamala Harris, when she was the AG of California, imprisoned more black men than any AG in the state’s history.”

Indeed, during her tenure as the attorney general of California from 2011 to 2017, at least 127,000 African Americans and Hispanic Americans were imprisoned in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) prison system according to data the CDCR shared with the Washington Free Beacon. More than 44,000 black Americans, as well as more than 83,000 Hispanic Americans, were locked up in state prisons while just 48,781 white people were imprisoned in the CDCR system during the same period. During the timespan Blacks and Hispanics made up just 6 percent and 39 percent of the state population respectively, but equated to 23 percent and 44 percent of California’s prison population.

“In other words, there is a profound racial disparity between the group sent to prison and California as a whole: the sort of disparity Harris’s ideological peers routinely decry as racist,” the Free Beacon’s Charles Lehman wrote.

And who could forget then presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard calling out Harris in a 2019 debate for putting 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then “[laughing] about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”

During his Tim Pool appearance, Patel also ridiculed President Biden for passing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. A.k.a. the 1994 Crime Bill.

“Joe Biden passed the 94′ crime bill, which imprisoned more black men for crack possession than any crime bill in history,” Patel says of the Act, which has been described as “one of the key contributors to mass incarceration in the 1990s.” Backing Patel’s claim, the Brookings Institute wrote in a 2020 article that “the 1994 bill interacted with—and reinforced—an existing and highly problematic piece of legislation: The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which created huge disparities in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine.” The Brookings Insitute added that because of the 1986 Act, a person found with five grams of crack coaine was sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison, while possession of at least 500 grams of powder cocaine was required to trigger an equal sentence.

Biden, a U.S. senator from Delaware at the time, was a firm supporter of the bill. The federal crime bill was historical legislation and the largest crime bill in U.S. history. The legislation gave federal approval for states to pass harsher laws and longer sentences. One of the most drastic changes that occurred under the 1994 crime bill involved the death penalty, as it deemed capital punishment as permissible for 60 new federal offenses, including certain drug offenses that were unrelated to homicides.

Biden was so proud of the ’94 Crime Bill, in fact, he said “the underyling bill… was the Biden bill” in a speech given to the Senate in 1993 (immediately below). “A guy named Biden wrote that bill and he wrote that bill by going… and sitting down with the President of the United States [Bill Clinton at the time],” Biden added. He also gloated about the bill establishing “more prisons” and “stiffer penalties” in order to “take back the streets.”

In the five years after the bill became law, Blacks and Hispanics made up 74 percent of the total number of defendants recommended by federal prosecutors to receive the death penalty. (Even today Blacks and Hispanics only equate to approximately 32 percent of the U.S. population.) The legislation also promoted a federal three-strikes law, wherein individuals that were convicted of a felony after already having two on their record were automatically sentenced to life in prison.

In 2022 approximately 71 percent of Americans serving life sentences were Black or Hispanic. 


Feature image: The White House

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