Behind the Vote: Let’s Talk About How Criminal Justice Will Impact Your Decision on Election Day

Law and Order vs. Reform

With the third installment of VH1’s “Behind the Vote” series, Carri Twigg returns with a look at the national conversation around criminal justice. Marc Lamont Hill and the New York Times’ Yamiche Alcindor join Twigg to discuss how the two major presidential candidates view our justice system, and what prospects they each offer for change.

Mass incarceration is a major problem in the US, with over 2.3 million citizens in jai1, sixty percent of whom are people of color. When it comes to the prospects of and approaches to reform, the two candidates offer sharp differences. Donald Trump, the self-styled “law and order” candidate, has placed draconian policies like “stop and frisk” at the center of his justice platform. Hillary Clinton has spoken of healing and compromise in an attempt to end mass incarceration and act on the needs of voices on both sides of the issue.

Many young voters are frustrated by the two choices at the forefront of this election cycle, as Hillary has been tied to her husband’s support of the notorious 1994 crime bill, and her use of the phrase “super predator” to characterize young Black men at that time. The conclusion our host and panel reach is that while Clinton’s policies are far from perfect, she is the only choice that could lead to meaningful reforms. A Hillary Clinton presidency is likely the best option for extending grass roots work being done by groups like Black Lives Matter. Regardless of the outcome, the only path to real change is continuing the activism that made criminal justice a cornerstone national issue.

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