Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton clashed again on criminal justice issues in last night’s first presidential debate, with Trump touting police stop-and-frisk tactics as part of his “law and order” campaign and Clinton favoring a broader approach to criminal justice reform. Trump asserted that stop and frisk helped bring the New York City annual murder total down from 2,200 to 500. “It had a very big impact,” he said. Studies by scholars at Columbia University and elsewhere say the widespread use of stop-and-frisk resulted in relatively few arrests or illegal gun recoveries, NPR reports. New York’s homicide numbers remain very low, at 352 in 2015 and a projected 359 this year, says the Brennan Center for Justice.
Clinton said stop-and-frisk was “ineffective. It did not do what it needed to do.” She added that she believes in community policing, and that “we’ve got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We cannot just say law and order. We have to say — we have to come forward with a plan that is going to divert people from the criminal justice system, deal with mandatory minimum sentences, which have put too many people away for too long for doing too little.”
One the starkest differences on policy between Clinton and Trump involves what limitations there should be on gun ownership and the role of Congress and the courts in establishing clear guidelines. It was striking that the candidates seemed to agree on at least one gun policy last night, reports the Los Angeles Times. Clinton, in a tense exchange over criminal justice issues, reiterated her support for what Democrats and gun control advocates have called a “no fly, no buy” policy to restrict individuals on the airline terrorist watch list from being able to purchase guns. Trump’s response: “We have to look very strongly at no-fly lists. … I tend to agree with that.” He went on to reiterate his pro-gun bona fides, citing his endorsement from the National Rifle Association.