Bill Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill Destroyed Black Communities

In the past former President Bill Clinton was known throughout the Black community as the first Black President when the idea of having a Black president was far-feted. Clinton’s relationship with the Black community was strong during his 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns. Clinton gained the Black communities support particularly southern African-Americans, and being that he was from Arkansans helped him a great deal. This was evident according to the New York Times editorial board, reflecting on the fact that Clinton won 75 percent of the black vote on Super Tuesday in 1992. However, due to the crime bill he passed in 1994 he is now know as one of the scapegoats who caused the mass incarceration of Black people specifically Black men.

The law at issue was Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which lead to the rising incarceration rates of Black men. The law also implemented a three strike policy. According to the ncjrs.gov  “the Three Strikes statute provides for mandatory life imprisonment if a convicted felon: (1) has been convicted in federal court of a “serious violent felony”, (2) has two or more previous convictions in federal or state courts, at least one of which is a “serious violent felony” (the other offense may be a serious drug offense).” The purpose of the three strike policy was to drastically increase the punishment of those convicted of more than two serious crimes.

This law continued the long-standing practice in America to incarcerate Black men. The war on drugs and Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill. Are one of the leading causes for what’s know as the prison industrial complex, in which the United States has privatized the penal system generating huge profits for large corporations. Who then utilize their clout and resources to influence politicians about laws and bills they should pass. Some of those decisions concerning crime directly effect the Black community disproportionately than any other group. 

Families & The Effects of Mass Incarceration 

It’s a understatement to say that the Black family was greatly impacted by mass incarceration and the war on drugs. According to data, a child who’s parent is in prison are at a disadvantage compared to a child who has both parents in their lives. The effects on the Black family runs deep even back to slavery when the father was often separated from his wife and kids. Mass incarceration was just another example of United States targeting Black people and their communities. Regardless of propaganda that many mainstream media outlets put out there painting the narrative that Black people are naturally criminal and dangerous is simply not true. We cannot ignore the number of incarcerated people in the United States is abnormally high  mainly caused by many years of incarcerating Black men for nonviolent drug offenses (See Chart Below).

According to Pew Research 2.7 million American children have at least one parent incarcerated. The data, also suggest that 11.4 percent of Black children have a parent incarcerated to the 1.8 percent of white children who have at least on parent in prison.  The data states that “non-violent offenses comprise two-thirds of the convictions reflected by these incarceration rates, with about one-quarter coming from drug offense.”

 

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Jay Colby

Jay Colby is writer, entrepreneur and life coach who life's mission is to inspire and uplift as many people as possible. Oh Yea and HE'S UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK.

Jay Colby

Jay Colby is writer, entrepreneur and life coach who life's mission is to inspire and uplift as many people as possible. Oh Yea and HE'S UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK.