Sanders decries "perverse incentive" to incarcerate

Elizabeth Ropp on September 19, 2015
Asked about the immigrant detention quota and the role of for-profit prisons, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he had just introduced legislation to shut down the private prison industry. "We don't want to provide a perverse incentive to see more people in jail," he said.

Senator Sanders held a town hall meeting with a packed crowd at the Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. The crowd attending was a mix of enthusiastic supporters and college students who had not decided who they were voting for and were meeting with Senator Sanders for the first time. Sanders talked at length about how America has more people in prison that any other industrialized world.

I asked him what policies he would support that would end the incarceration of immigrants and the immigrant quota system.

Senator Sanders appeared happy to take my question and said he had just introduced legislation that would bar for-profit corporations from running prisons. He cited an example of a youth detention center that bribed judges to sentence minors to be locked up as a egregious example of the effects that private detention centers have on American society.

"The incentive for a private corporation is to encourage governments to pass laws that encourage more and more incarceration. What our job is as a sane society is to do everything we can to lower the prison population. So we don't want to provide a perverse incentive to see more people in jail and that's why I've introduced legislation to eliminate private prisons," Sanders said.

NH Institute of Politics, St. Anselm College
St. Anselm Dr
Manchester, NH
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