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Watch What Happens When Tlaib Actually Confronted About Her Support for Radical Bill to Empty Federal Prisons

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D) was confronted about her endorsement of the Breathe Act, described as a “visionary bill framework” that dismantles the current criminal justice system in favor of a “new vision of public safety.”


According to a webpage detailing the framework, “genuine safety and liberation” is unattainable “until we abandon police, prisons, and all punishment paradigms.”

Axios’s Jonathan Swan pressed the progressive Democrat about her support in 2020 for the Breathe Act, particularly considering one proposal that calls for “emptying federal detention facilities within 10 years.”

“To what extent have you wrestled with any potential downsides of releasing into society every single person who's currently in federal prison?” Swan wondered.

“Yeah,” she said shrugging. “Again, I think that everyone’s like, oh my God, we’re just going to release everybody. That’s not what I’m say---"

Swan pointed out that that’s what the Act states.

“Yeah, but did you see how many people are mentally ill that are in prison right now?” she countered.

“The Act that you endorsed actually says release everyone in 10 years,” Swan reminded her.

"But in 10 years," she shot back. "Think about it, who are we releasing?"

"There are like human traffickers, child sex---" Swan began to say.


“Oh, I know," she said dismissively. 

Tlaib went on to argue that people accusing her of wanting a blanket release of inmates are doing so unfairly, but Swan didn’t let up and pushed back, telling her it’s in “plain text.”

Eventually, she conceded that she doesn’t think all prisoners can be rehabilitated but stressed that not every inmate is the same.

Swan asked if she believes there is still a small segment of the prison population that must remain behind bars.

“I would have to look at every case individually and figure that all out,” she replied.


Some Democrats were even annoyed by the exchange. 

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