Washington: There is a "systematic racism" inside America's criminal justice system, said Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton ahead of Tuesday's crucial primaries in five major US states.
"We have got to be honest with ourselves. We have systemic racism that is really at work inside of the criminal justice system," Clinton, 68, said during a CNN-organised town hall in Ohio where Democratic primaries will be held on Tuesday along with Florida, North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri.
"We have got to be willing to stand up and question these inequities, and then go about the business of ridding them. We need to divert many more people out of the jail and prison system into diversion programmes, job programs, skills programmes. Where are doing this, although it is on too small a scale, it works.
"We need to have much more in the way of treatment and help for people who have addictions, who have mental health issues so that they can be helped, not incarcerated. We need to end private prisons; they are a shameful blight...," Clinton said amid applause from the audience.
Clinton said she believes that States have got to stop building prisons and start investing in education.