Bill Clinton Says Crime Bill “Made Things Worse.” Where’s Everyone Else?

Bill Clinton Says Crime Bill “Made Things Worse.” Where’s Everyone Else?


“I signed a bill that made the problem worse,” former President Bill Clinton admitted t members of the NAACP in Philadelphia on July 15.

Of course, it really wasn’t a matter of Bill Clinton “admitting it.”  Many who simply studied the policies in the Clinton Crime Bill, specifically where the appropriation requests were targeted, and then looked at the results years later knew the bill was a disaster, especially for Black communities.  Some legislators who voted NO on the bill back in 1993 knew in real time it would spike incarceration. 

That a former President is out admitting one of his major policies was a mistake is interesting. But the other question is: Where is everyone else.  There are several lawmakers who assisted in writing and passing the Clinton Crime Bill who are currently in office who have said nothing.  Where are Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Vice President Biden on the Clinton Crime Bill? At a time where criminal justice reform is a hot issue, it’s important to find out if they’ve changed their minds on justice policy or will still continue to push the same policies.

The Clinton Crime Bill added $9 billion for prisons and the “three strikes you’re out” mandatory sentence that mandating a life sentences for those convicted of a felony after two previous convictions.  The outcomes after the bill became law was a historic spike in incarceration.

“The good news is we had the biggest drop in crime in history. The bad news is we had a lot people who were locked up, who were minor actors, for way too long,” Clinton also added.  That Clinton believes that the “biggest drop in crime in history” is the result of his crime policy is unproven.


  1. Twenty years later, parts of major crime bill viewed as a Terrible Mistake. 20 years ago in 1994, then President Bill Clinton signed a crime bill. It was in effect, a long term experiment in various ways to fight crime….The measure paid to put more cops on the beat, trained police and lawyers to investigate domestic violence, impose tougher prison sentences and provide money for extra prisons. Clinton described his motivation to pass the 1994 violent crime control act in stark terms….Crime rates and violent crimes had already begun what would become a long downward turn, according to criminologists and policy makers….Then Senator Joseph Biden, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Dianne Fienstein all applauded President Bill Clinton….