Bernie Sanders Speaks at HBCU Benedict College, Attempts to Win Over Southern Voters

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Sen. Bernie Sanders decried “institutional racism” and called for major criminal justice system reforms — including an end to privately run prisons — while speaking at a historically black college here on Saturday.

The Vermont Independent, running for the Democratic presidential nomination, highlighted his proposals to eliminate federal, state and local contracts for privately run prisons within two years. He wants to shift money toward investments in jobs and education.

“We need to end the absurdity of private corporations making profits by running and building prisons,” he said during an hour-long speech at Benedict College. “Companies should not be profiting from the incarceration of fellow Americans.”

The crowd of about 1,000 applauded that position and Sanders’ push to promote diversity in police departments, reduce high incarceration rates, reform mandatory minimum prison sentences and invest in drug courts.

“I find it remarkable that many young people have a criminal record for smoking marijuana but not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for illegal behavior,” he said.

This was Sanders’ second trip to South Carolina as a presidential candidate. He aims to broaden his appeal with a key constituency — African Americans — in the first Southern primary state.

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Source: USA Today | Nicole Gaudiano

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