Santorum - Imprison people in facilities for shareholders?

Kevin Rutledge on April 09, 2015
When asked about private prisons lobbyists and profiting from mass-incarceration, Senator Rick Santorum responds "Do we need to have as many people in jail again?"

During Senator Rick Santorum’s speech at the SE Iowa Family Leadership Summit, he highlighted the importance of having strong families to conquer wealth inequality.  But what happens when the private prison industry invests millions of dollars lobbying for mandatory minimum sentencing and profiting from mass incarceration, leaving children without their mothers and fathers to raise them?

I met Senator Santorum afterwards and while shaking hands in the lobby, I asked him a question from our recent Immigrant Detention Quote blog:

“Thank you for coming today, I appreciate what you had to say about wealth inequality, and talking about that, because that’s an important issue.  But I was concerned also about the private prison industry, and how they’ve invested millions of dollars, resulting in mass incarceration and profiting from that.  And my question is, should we be imprisoning people in facilities where they’re in it for the shareholders and not for the citizenry?”

Senator Santorum’s response:

“Look, as long as they’re performing the functions of business and profiting.  But I think the bigger question is, do we need to have as many people in jail again?  That’s a more serious question…One of the things I agree with Rand Paul on is we need to take a look at some of our laws and say, you know, do we really need to have three strikes and you’re out for certain drug crimes? And things like that.  I think we need to look at our laws and our sentencing and it will relieve some of the reasons for their certain (something inaudible).”

Senator Santorum seems to support criminal justice reform overall, reduce our prison population, re-examine our laws and sentencing on certain drug crimes, even supporting efforts from Senator Rand Paul co-sponsor of the The Smarter Sentencing Act.  However, he doesn’t address the issue of private prisons role of using government contracts to influence public policy.  I hope he addresses the issue of campaign contributions and lobbying from the private prison industry in the future.  Bird-dogs have a big role in making sure he does.

Candidates: 
Event
About the Candidates
About the Reporter

Kevin Rutledge

Kevin Rutledge AFSC Governing Under the Influence Presidential Campaign Project

Kevin Rutledge is the Grassroots Education Coordinator with AFSC’s Presidential Campaign Project in Iowa.  Kevin has deep family roots in Quaker activism for peace and social justice.  A graduate from Iowa State University in Sociology and Criminal Justice, his previous work includes: United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) organizer, Public Citizen online organizer to overturn Citizens United, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, and a youth residential treatment facility.  Kevin hopes to one day return to Brazil and live by the beach.

“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill .