Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sanders to unveil sweeping prison reforms

Leading liberals in both chambers will introduce legislation Thursday promoting a sweeping overhaul of the nation's prison system.

Sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the package aims to reduce incarcerations nationwide by eliminating privately run prisons, reinstating the federal parole system to allow for more early releases, and ending the quota system governing immigrant detentions.

Supporters of the legislation contend the changes are necessary to eliminate "perverse profit incentives" that encourage national incarceration rates ranking among the highest in the world.

"We need to end the tragic reality that the United States has more people in jail than any other country on earth, and that the people being incarcerated are disproportionately black and Hispanic," Sanders said last week, previewing the package.

The legislation has little chance of moving through a Congress controlled by Republicans. But it does send a message to voters about the contrast between each party's policy priorities. And it comes at a time when Sanders, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, is seeking to make inroads with African American voters.


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