Mitt Romney Doesn’t Think Mass Incarceration is a Real Thing

According to Mitt Romney, the United States does not have mass incarcerations.
According to Mitt Romney, the United States does not have mass incarcerations. –Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“We don’t have mass incarcerations in America,’’ Mitt Romney says.

In an interview Monday with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, Romney said he thought Hillary Clinton’s recent speech on criminal justice reform “smacked of the politicization’’ of Freddie Gray’s death and the protests that followed in Baltimore.

“It was a very inappropriate thing for her to do and I think it was political in nature to try to get more support in the African-American community,’’ said Romney.

“When she said look we’re not going to have mass incarcerations in the future, what is she referring to?’’ he asked.

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Perhaps it depends on your definition of mass incarceration.

According to the ACLU, the United States imprisons more than 2.2 million people. Despite representing 5 percent of the global population, the country has 25 percent of the world’s inmates.

“Are we not going to lock people up who commit crimes?’’ asked Romney. “Is that what she’s suggesting?’’

What Clinton suggested in her speech was to “reform arbitrary mandatory minimum sentences,’’ reductions in prison terms for “some drug crimes,’’ the reduction of “the unjust federal sentencing disparity’’ between crack and powder cocaine crimes and “to pursue alternative punishments for low-level offenders.’’

“Without the mass incarceration that we currently practice, millions fewer people would be living in poverty,’’ she said last week at Columbia University.

The speech was a reversal from Clinton’s past views, in which she praised crime policiesput into place during Bill Clinton’s presidency, including a “three strikes and you’re out’’ sentencing provision.

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney was also supportive of mandatory minimum and three strike sentencing laws. He also supported giving prosecutors the ability to appeal “too-lenient’’ sentences, as well as the death penalty and restrictions on plea bargaining.

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