Former Delaware Senator Joe Biden was calling for more police officers, more prisons, and more convictions for users of crack cocaine. Long before his 1994 crime bill, Biden was out pushing legislation and calling for more prosecutions that many on the new left are now citing as examples of "institutional racism."
During a segment on PBS's The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour in 1991, then-Senator Biden was criticizing Republicans for not putting more police officers on the streets, for not building more prisons, and for not prosecuting more individuals for crack cocaine.
"The attorney general talks about and the administration talks about making the streets safer, yet, they don't put one new policeman on the street," Biden complained of the Republican White House at the time.
In the segment, Biden faulted then-U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh for not prosecuting users of crack cocaine under laws that Biden sponsored and helped write.
"You know, right now we already passed, of the 230 laws we passed, if you have this much crack up in your possession (Biden holds up a quarter), you go to jail for five years, no probation, no parole," Biden bragged. "Yet, the attorney general will not prosecute someone in New York unless they have, they have to have five times that much and will not prosecute someone in Miami unless they have 100 times that much. ... the law we passed last year says if you have that much crack (referring to his quarter), you go to jail for five years, no probation, no parole. We also passed a law that said all right, if you're a drug kingpin, you go to jail for life. The attorney general since he's been attorney general last year and the year before by their own statistics have only sent four people to jail for life out of all those millions of folks out there who are involved in this process."
Video via the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, 06-13-1991, NewsHour Productions