Biden says crime bill was a 'mistake' during ABC town hall

Biden says crime bill was a 'mistake' during ABC town hall
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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE acknowledged on Thursday that his support for a crime bill that is widely blamed for increasing mass incarceration of people of color was a mistake, but defended some aspects of the measure. 

Asked during a televised town hall in Philadelphia whether supporting the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was a mistake, Biden said that “yes, it was.”

But Biden also said that the worst effects of the crime bill came as a result of decisions made on the part of individual states after its passage. 


“The mistake came in terms of what the states did locally. What we did federally — you remember George, it was all about the same time for the same crime,” Biden told ABC anchor and town hall host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters Pelosi: White House made 'unacceptable changes' to testing language during negotiations on coronavirus stimulus Infectious disease expert calls White House advisers herd immunity claims 'pseudoscience' MORE

Biden also noted that the bill had broad support among prominent Black leaders at the time and that things have “changed drastically” since then. Nevertheless, he repeated, “it was a mistake.”

A member of Biden's campaign later took to Twitter to clarify that Biden was speaking of a 1986 crime bill that included mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.

Biden’s support for the 1994 crime bill during his tenure as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has drawn criticism over the course of his presidential campaign.

He has previously expressed regret for backing the measure, calling it “a big mistake” last year.