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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Clinton Wants Crime Bill Passed Soon

LONDON, Ohio -- President Bill Clinton, saying Americans have waited long enough, has urged Congress to give quick approval to an anti-crime bill that would pay for 100,000 more police by cutting government bureaucrats.

Clinton used a trip to a police training academy in London, Ohio, to signal his determination to come to grips with crime, now the top concern of the American people.

"If Congress will pass this bill soon I will respond by cutting through red tape ... so that within a year, 20,000 new police officers are hired and start the training that they need to make our streets safer," Clinton said.

But in Washington, Clinton came under fire indirectly from a former top Justice Department official who denounced the rush to adopt costly, get-tough, anti-crime bills that will do little to improve public safety.

Former Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann strongly criticized the idea supported by Clinton in his State of the Union address calling for mandatory life prison sentences for anyone with a third felony conviction.

He called the idea "feel-good lawmaking" and said it would cost the government $600,000 to $700,000 per inmate to house offenders in their 50s, 60s and 70s, when they might no longer be dangerous to the community.

Clinton's $22 billion crime bill would hire 100,000 more police over five years, build up to $6 billion worth of jail cells and "boot camps" for young offenders and ban most assault weapons.

The bill passed the Senate late last year, but the House of Representatives is still working on its version.