Clearly one of the crises we face in our nation is that we have more people behind bars than any other country on earth […] China is a nation that is 3 or 4 times larger than us population wise, it is an authoritarian country Communist country, and we have far more people behind bars than does China. And what we do in our jails is we run a great educational system, we education people how to be even better criminals. So it seems to me that rather than spending huge amounts of money on jails and on private corporations who are incentivized to keep people in jail, it might make a lot more sense to spend money on job training and education so that people do not end up in jail in the first place.
– Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sounds like a prison reformer, doesn’t it? But don’t they all sound like whatever you want when they run to fill the big chair? It’s these sort of baseless and easy promises that make folks so cynical about our politics
However, Sen. Sanders is already on the actual (not just rhetorical) record on this issue.
- He voted YES on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons in June 2000.
- He voted NO on more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime in June of 1999.
- He received a 78% rating by CURE, indicating pro-rehabilitation on crime issues.
Sen. Sanders is not new to the issue of prison reform. There is every reason to believe that this will be a focus of any Sanders Administration.
And that would be good for America. All of America.