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Tom Cotton Says ‘We Have A Major Under-Incarceration Problem,’ Sparks Huge Backlash

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WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 2: (AFP OUT) Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) makes an announcement on the introduction of the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on August 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. The act aims to overhaul U.S. immigration by moving towards a "merit-based" system.
Zach Gibson – Pool/Getty Images

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) is facing a severe backlash online after he shared a CNN article on the rise of “significant crime,” alongside the tweet, “We have a major under-incarceration problem in America. And it’s only getting worse.”

The CNN article, titled “The US saw significant crime rise across major cities in 2020. And it’s not letting up,” explores the rise in crime rates last year.

“Major American cities saw a 33% increase in homicides last year as a pandemic swept across the country, millions of people joined protests against racial injustice and police brutality, and the economy collapsed under the weight of the pandemic — a crime surge that has continued into the first quarter of this year,” the report reads.

“Sixty-three of the 66 largest police jurisdictions saw increases in at least one category of violent crimes in 2020, which include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, according to a report produced by the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Raleigh, North Carolina, did not report increases in any of the violent crime categories,” the report adds.

In a section titled, “There’s a ‘perfect storm’ of factors,” CNN reported that “Experts point to a “perfect storm” of factors — economic collapse, social anxiety because of a pandemic, de-policing in major cities after protests that called for abolition of police departments, shifts in police resources from neighborhoods to downtown areas because of those protests, and the release of criminal defendants pretrial or before sentences were completed to reduce risk of Covid-19 spread in jails — all may have contributed to the spike in homicides.”

Later sections explore “De-policing in response to demonstrations” and how COVID-19 was responsible for shutting down the criminal justice system.

Jails, prisons and correctional facilities became hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks among inmates and staff members, prompting some officials to aggressively reduce populations and suspend intake of new detainees,” CNN noted.

Critics responded angrily to Cotton’s reference to the article — specifically his reference to the shut down of criminal justice systems — with the Arkansas Senator trending on Twitter.

Chris Hahn responded with, “Tell Tom Cotton the only under-incarceration problem we have is that the leaders and enablers of the seditious mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6th have not yet been held accountable. They will be. Many of his colleagues should be concerned.”

The Palmer Report tweeted, “Tom Cotton is correct. There are a whole lot of Republican politicians who aren’t in prison but need to be.”

Scott Dworkin added, “The only ‘under-incarcerated’ in America are GOP traitors like Tom Cotton, who should be in prison right now.”

Eliza Orlins, a recent Manhattan DA candidate, tweeted, “Tom Cotton has bad opinions and is a bad person.”

Erick Fernandez tweeted, “I mean, we all know that Tom Cotton is a blood-thirsty fascist. But to say that we have an ‘under-incarceration problem’ is absolutely deranged even by his usual sociopathic standards.”

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