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    Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Friday, June 19, 2015, in Las Vegas

    Bernie Sanders Accuses Trump of Payback to Private Prison Industry

    © AP Photo / David Becker
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    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has accused US President Donald Trump of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in campaign contributions from private prisons, and returning the favor by rolling back former President Barack Obama’s administrative memorandum to curtail the for-profit prison industry.

    On Thursday,  US Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned Obama’s order to phase out the use of privately-owned prisons.

    “Private prison companies invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and today they got their reward: the Trump administration reversed the Obama administration’s directive to reduce the Justice Department’s use of private prisons,” Sanders said in a statement on Thursday, adding that, “Trump just opened the floodgates for private prisons to make huge profits by building more prisons and keeping even more Americans in jail.”

    During Trump’s election campaign, a Super PAC supporting him received at least $100,000 in donations from GEO Group, one of the largest private-prison companies in the nation. Corrections Corporation of America and GEO also donated over $1.6 million to the Republican Governors Association.

    Sanders has long fought the private prison industry, which he has repeatedly referred to as a “racket,” even introducing a bill in 2015 to prohibit the practice. “Keeping human beings in jail for long periods of time must no longer be an acceptable business model in America,”

    “This is how our corrupt political and campaign finance system works,” Sanders’ statement continued.  "Corporations should not be profiting by incarcerating our fellow Americans.


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