WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called Thursday for an end to the death penalty, a day after rival Hillary Rodham Clinton stopped short of saying the United States should end capital punishment.
"We are all shocked and disgusted by some of the horrific murders that we see in this country, seemingly every week," said Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont. "And that is precisely why we should abolish the death penalty. At a time of rampant violence and murder, the state should not be part of that process."
Clinton's remark a day earlier to take a "hard look" at abolishing capital punishment gave Sanders an opening to distinguish himself from the former secretary of state, who is the party's frontrunner in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Sanders also called for reforming the criminal justice system, which he said puts more people in jail than any other country on Earth and makes it harder for Americans to get back on their feet once they're out of jail.
"A criminal record stays with a person for his or her entire life_until the day he or she dies," Sanders said. "If a person has a criminal record, it will be much harder for that person later in life to get a job. Many employers simply will not hire somebody with a criminal record. A criminal record destroys lives."
Clinton said she thinks there are certain "egregious cases" in which the death penalty should be considered, "but I'd like to see those be very limited and rare."