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Sanders: ‘We Need to End Prisons for Profit’

Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to put an end to for profit prisons.

“We need to end prisons for profit,” he said at the 2015 Presidential Justice Forum at Allen University in Columbia, S.C.

“It is wrong for corporations to be making profits from the incarcerations of their fellow Americans,” Sanders continued.

“I want to see incentives to get people out of jail or prevent people from going into jail,” the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate added.

“By and large, we do a pretty bad job in making sure that when people are released from jail, they don’t end up in jail again. There needs to be a path back from prison.”

The Hill reports:

Sanders argued that the private sector’s involvement in prison had created negative consequences in areas like education and narcotics.

“We cannot jail our way out of health problems like drug addiction and socio-economic problems like poverty,” the Vermont lawmaker said.

“Substance abuse is a disease, not a crime,” he said. “This is a huge problem from one end of this country to another. There is a pipeline from school to jail that we have to turn into a pipeline from school to a promising future. We have to stop the criminalization of classroom behavior.”

Sanders added that the academic system is especially harmful towards African-Americans.

“We are failing our black children before kindergarten,” he said. “Black children are more likely to suffer harsh punishments, suspensions and expulsions from their schools.

“We must address the lingering racial stereotypes that label young black adults as ‘thugs’ or ‘super predators,’ ” he added.

Sanders also called on law enforcement authorities to improve relations with the minority communities they protect and serve.

“Mothers should not be afraid of police targeting their children because of the color of their skin,” he said.

“They should not be worried that an interaction between police and their children ends in inappropriate force or even death,” Sanders continued. “I want to see police departments be part of the community rather than an alien force. When you stop people walking down the street for no reason and without cause, you become an oppressive, alien force, and that’s wrong.”

Sanders expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in their quest for social justice and improved race relations nationwide.

“For a start, we would make this a major issue in my administration,” he said of the activist group and their concerns. “It is not an issue we would push aside.

“We would end the absurdity, the horror, of unarmed black men and women being killed by armed police officers.”

Sanders delivered his remarks Saturday at Allen University, a historically black college in South Carolina.

He struggled with handling Black Lives Matter protesters earlier this summer, with members twice interrupting his campaign events.

Sanders has since mended fences by meeting with representatives of the controversial movement. Black Lives Matter has said it is not formally endorsing anyone for the White House in 2016.

Photo credit: Salon.

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