I’m glad that we’re ending private prisons in the federal system; I want to see them ended in the state system. You shouldn’t have a profit motivation to fill prison cells with young Americans.Government prosecutes criminals and obtains convictions and prison sentences. If government uses privately run prisons, it must pay these private businesses to house its prisoners. The entity filling the prison therefore has an economic incentive against putting more people in prison. The private business — the one with the "profit motivation" — has no power to create more prisoners. I can see opposing private prisons for other reasons, but Hillary's justification made no sense to me other than a random expression of disgust for business.
She zipped on to other race-related ideas, and Trump never called attention to this nonsense. So I'm looking for answers on the web today. I found this from last June at The Intercept:
After The Intercept revealed that the Clinton campaign had received campaign donations from private prison lobbyists, a number of activist groups confronted Clinton, leading her to announce that she would no longer accept the money and later declaring that “we should end private prisons and private detention centers.”Oh! So perhaps Clinton doesn't really believe in ending private prisons at all, and the nonsense I heard was a dog-whistle to her old lobbyist friends in the industry. She premised her objection on the terrible "profit motivation" — thus also dog-whistling to the Democratic Party's anti-corporations base — but anyone who begins with economics and reasons from there will understand that private prisons are a way for government to save money.
And here's Politico, last February, noting that the Clinton campaign made $8,600 contribution to a women's prison charity after she was criticized by ColorofChange for getting contributions from lobbyists for private prisons:
Despite the refunds, Clinton campaign continues to benefit handsomely from the fundraising assistance of some closely connected to the private prison business. In another report filed Sunday night, the campaign disclosed that Richard Sullivan of Capitol Counsel—until recently, a Raleigh, N.C.-based federally registered lobbyist for the for-profit prison operator GEO Group—bundled $69,363 in donations for Clinton in the fourth quarter, bringing his total for the year to a whopping $274,891. That makes Sullivan the second-most prolific lobbyist-bundler for the Clinton campaign, beaten out only by D.C. lobbyist Heather Podesta, who's tallied up $348,581 so far.Bernie Sanders used this issue against Clinton, as HuffPo reported last February.
Here's the way Hillary Clinton's own website explains her current position:
Hillary believes we should move away from contracting out this core responsibility of the federal government to private corporations. We must not create private industry incentives that may contribute—or have the appearance of contributing—to over-incarceration. The campaign does not accept contributions from federally registered lobbyists or PACs for private prison companies and will donate any such direct contributions to charity.Ah, so it's really on the "the appearance of contributing" to over-incarceration that matters. Too bad Trump had absolutely no instinct to jump on this issue: She took contributions, Bernie and racial justice groups slammed her on it, she flipped her position for political appearance, and she doesn't see the need to talk straight about the economics of it; she says nothing about anything abusive happening in these private prison; her only reason is an economic point that makes no sense.
And check this out, from The Daily Beast: "Hillary Clinton’s Pitch to End Private Prisons Is the Surprise Hit of the Presidential Debate/A focus group in Pennsylvania loved Clinton’s attack on prisons that profit from inmates. Her position could help win a decisive victory in the state."
I guess that's good news for Trump: It's not about making sense.