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Hannity Wants Jails, Not Health Care

Reported by Ellen - August 5, 2009 -

At the beginning of his Hannity's America segment last night, Sean Hannity distorted the remarks of Attorney General Eric Holder to suggest that Holder was going to let violent criminals out of jail in an effort to pinch Federal pennies. Multi-millionaire Hannity, who thinks the health care crisis is no big deal went on to complain that federal money proposed for health care should be spent on jails, instead.

Hannity played a clip of Holder saying, "We will not focus on law enforcement as the most effective means of protecting public safety. Spending on prisons continues to rise. This is unsustainable economically. Many jurisdictions simply cannot afford the monetary costs of focusing exclusively on incarceration to say nothing of the social costs associated with high rates of imprisonment."

Hannity's sneering response: "Since when does this administration care about sustainable economic policies? How about taking some of that health care money and, you know, maybe keeping violent criminals behind bars."

Had Hannity bothered to actually read Holder's remarks, he would have known that Holder was not talking about releasing violent criminals. In fact, Holder specifically said, "And so, we at the Department of Justice will continue to put the people who threaten our communities where they belong – behind bars." Holder later added, "Although spending on prison construction continues to increase, public safety is not continuing to improve. Crime rates appear to have reached a plateau beyond which they no longer decline in response to increases in incarceration. Indeed, since 2003, spending on incarceration has continued to rise, but crime rates have flattened." Holder went on to call for ways to prevent crime before it happens, use of drug court programs for non-violent offenders and prison work and education programs which he said have proven results in reducing recidivism.

But it's no surprise that a bigotry-enthusiast like Hannity would shriek at the notion of health care instead of prison for people of color - and use untruths to do so.