Sanders Rallies Baltimore Crowd With Talk of Criminal Justice Reform
Bernie Sanders wooed a Baltimore crowd by promising to “bring justice back to the criminal justice system” on Saturday.
“How does it happen, that in the richest country in the history of the world we have 2.2 million people in jail?” he said. “We are spending $80 billion a year locking up millions of Americans.”
The Hill reports:
Sanders said that a major reason for mass incarceration is that “here in Baltimore and all over this country, we have 40 to 50 percent of our young kids who are unemployed with no hope for their future.”
He promised that as president he would invest more in jobs and education than in prisons.
The Vermont senator added that the culture of policing needs to change in order to lessen the occurrence of police brutality.
“Like any other public official, if a police officer breaks the law, that officer must be held accountable,” he said. “Police departments around America should not look like occupying forces. We have to demilitarize our police.”
“We have to understand that lethal force, the killing of people, is the last response not the first response.”
Baltimore was rocked by riots after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died in police custody.
Sanders also called for the nation to reconsider the war on drugs.
“Over the last 30 years billions of Americans have received police records for possession of marijuana,” he said, drawing loud boos from the crowd. “This become a racial issue because blacks are four times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession of marijuana.”
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