BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug. 18 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement Thursday after the Justice Department announced plans to end its use of private prisons:
“Our criminal justice system is broken and in need of major reforms. The Justice Department’s plan to end its use of private prisons is an important step in the right direction. It is exactly what I campaigned on as a candidate for president.
“It is an international embarrassment that we put more people behind bars than any other country on earth. Due in large part to private prisons, incarceration has been a source of major profits to private corporations. Study after study after study has shown private prisons are not cheaper, they are not safer, and they do not provide better outcomes for either the prisoners or the state.
“We have got to end the private prison racket in America as quickly as possible. Our focus should be on keeping people out of jail and making sure they stay out when they are released. This means funding jobs and education not more jails and incarceration.”
Sanders introduced legislation last year with Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) to ban private prisons.