Rand Paul Tackles Racist Drug Laws: Prisons ‘Full of Black and Brown Kids’

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has faced his fair share of criticism for various attempts he has made to reach out to minority communities on behalf of the Republican Party. But this weekend, at the Iowa State Republican Party Convention, Paul made some comments about America’s War on Drugs that sounded genuinely surprising coming from the GOP.

Prefacing his comments by saying he realized they may not “bring everybody together,” Paul spoke out against the racial biases present in U.S. drug laws. “I think drugs are a scourge. I think we’ve maybe gone too far and that marijuana is a problem,” Paul said. “And yet I also think it’s a problem to lock people up for 10 and 15 and 20 years for youthful mistakes.”

He noted that three out of four Americans in prison for drug offenses are black and brown when data shows that whites are using drugs just as much as minority groups. “But the prisons are full of black and brown kids because they don’t get a good attorney, they live in poverty, it’s easier to arrest them than to go to the suburbs,” he said.

If the GOP is going to be the party of “family values,” Paul said, it should bother Republicans that in 1980 there were 200,000 kids with a dad in prison and now there are two million.

RELATED: Criminal Justice Reform: The GOP’s Best Hope to Reach Minority Voters

Invoking the “Judeo-Christian faith” of most conservatives, Paul highlighted the “redemption” that religious people hold so dear.

“Should a 19-year-old kid get a second chance? I think yes,” Paul continued. “Let’s be the party that has compassion, that doesn’t say the behavior is right but says, ‘You know what? When you’re done with your time, that you get the right to vote back.’ Let’s be the party that is for extending right to vote back to people who have paid their time, who have reformed their ways.”

The enthusiastic applause from the conservative audience suggested they agreed with his position on the issue.

Watch video below, via C-SPAN:

[h/t MofoPolitics]
[Photo via screengrab]

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