Private Prisons Join the Candidate Support Game as Sen. Bernie Sanders Says “No” to Them

LBN’s Bob Donley reports that Senator Bernie Sanders, running for the Democratic presidential nomination, has taken a stand against private prisons. And the private prison companies have joined other industry groups who provide financial support for politicians. Big Oil is the name given to a group of large oil companies that donate money to politicians. Big Pharma, the pharmaceutical lobby, has spent money promoting its interests and supporting candidates who support its goals. The NRA has for years supported politicians who support its interests.

The private prison industry is a latecomer to the political support game, but now, says Donley, the companies are spending money to influence politicians to support profit-making prisons. Donley reports that these companies have spent about $10 million on individual candidates who support their interests and $25 million on lobbying efforts. The private prison industry has turned into a big money industry in the thirty years since the first prison opened. [Note: LBN has reported extensively on private prisons, most recently on September 23, 2015.]

Private prisons now manage about ten percent of all federal and state prisons, about 200,000 inmates (including illegal immigrants being detained). The prisons generate revenues of $3 billion annually. Senator Sanders is one politician who has spoken out against these prisons. Sanders says that private companies should not be profiting from the incarceration of prisoners. Sanders has introduced the Justice Is Not For Sale Act of 2015. The bill seeks to end federal use of private prisons by 2018.

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