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Former President Clinton says prison reform will be hot-button issue in 2016

Clinton on America's criminal justice system: "We basically took a shotgun to a problem that needed a .22."

By
Matt Bradwell
Prison reform will prove to be a major issue in the 2016 presidential election says former President Bill Clinton. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
Prison reform will prove to be a major issue in the 2016 presidential election says former President Bill Clinton. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Oct. 8 (UPI) -- According to former President Bill Clinton, one of the main issues on voters' minds going into the 2016 election will be prison reform.

"We basically took a shotgun to a problem that needed a .22 -- a very significant percentage of serious crimes in this country are committed by a very small number [of criminals]," the former president told a group of over 70 U.S. mayors and law enforcement officials at his presidential library. The community leaders met to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of Clinton's 1994 crime bill that enabled community policing to assist and partially supplant local law enforcement.

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"We took a shotgun to it and just sent everybody to jail for too long. I think in this next step where we're going to be apparently debating all this and as the presidential election approaches, we'll start to have a discussion of all of this."

Clinton added ongoing conflicts between citizens and police, like the current tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, highlight the urgency of diversity and cross-cultural self-interest.

"We cannot afford not to know our neighbors. It doesn't matter if they don't vote the way we do. It doesn't matter if they don't worship the way we do -- it doesn't matter if we don't look the way they do. We cannot afford to not listen to and know our neighbors."

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