(May 16 column by Quin);

Democrats have moved so far leftward that now Joe Biden is apologizing for a 1994 crime bill that, yes, actually cut crime.

Now the media is fact-checking Biden’s apology — a fate Biden could have avoided if he had done the right thing by bragging about the bill’s successes.

Well-intentioned people across the political spectrum have worked in recent years to reduce the incidence of over-incarceration. The reform idea du jour is that nonviolent offenders should spend less time behind bars and more in rehabilitative environments. It’s a good idea. The Left, though, absurdly takes the idea further, arguing in effect that prisoners are somehow victims and that even repeat offenders should serve substantially less time.

Hence Biden’s convoluted groveling. Even though he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that largely produced the final version of the 1994 federal crime bill, he is now saying the bill really wasn’t his responsibility. He’s also saying the bill didn’t really increase incarceration all that much, and that to the extent it did, it was then-President Bill Clinton’s fault.

So, to review: It wasn’t his fault, but it didn’t do what they say it did, but when it did the allegedly bad things they say it did, well, remember, it wasn’t his fault.

Yeah, right.


Biden’s pretzel-like explanations aside, here’s the reality: The 1994 crime bill contained some unnecessary measures, but to the extent that it did result in increased incarceration, its result was exactly as intended, which was to reduce violent crime both directly in the federal system and also, indirectly, by spurring states to crack down on violent offenders….

… [Among other things], it enacted a “three strikes” provision, for federal crimes only, that mandated life imprisonment for a violent offense that followed two earlier convictions, state or federal, for violent felonies.

The three-strikes provision now has a bad odor, because too many states enacted copycat measures that included nonviolent, lower-level offenses. But the federal provision was well targeted at violent recidivists. I know because I helped write it….

[The full column is at this link.]


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