Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said Thursday that she was sorry for what she described as the unintended consequences of a landmark 1994 crime bill signed into law by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton's past support for the law has come under fire from some African-Americans, who say that it has contributed to mass incarceration of young blacks.

When asked if she believed the bill was a mistake during the Democratic debate in Brooklyn, N.Y., Clinton said the law "had some positive aspects", like an effort to prevent violence against women.

When pressed on her support for the law, Clinton said she was "sorry for the consequences that were unintended and that have had a very unfortunate impact on people's lives." She also noted that her husband had apologized for the law and that her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., had voted for the bill.

For his part, Sanders stood by his criticism of Bill Clinton for defending Hillary Clinton's use of the term "super predators" in 1996 to describe some criminals.

"It was a racist term, and everybody knew it was a racist term," Sanders said.

The self-described democratic socialist, who was a congressman at the time the bill was passed, agreed the law was a mixed bag. He then called for a rethink of what he described as "a broken criminal justice system ... from the bottom on up."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.