Sanders’ dramatic prison reform plan stirs strong reactions from citizens

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders just made an overhaul of the U.S. prison system part of his platform — but early feedback shows Americans are skeptical of the idea.

Across social media, critics of the Sanders plan have been quick to state that prisoners are in jail for a reason and they should not be spared every hardship that comes with incarceration.

The “Prisoner Bill of Rights” includes a goal to cut the total prison population in half, end mandatory minimum sentences, legalize marijuana, allow inmates to vote, and ban private for-profit prisons. It also proposes “free” phone calls, video chats, health services, education, vocational training, and more.

Other components of Sanders’ overhaul include that prison labor should be entitled to “a living wage,” which is $15 an hour according to Sanders. Some proponents of prison labor say that work, which produces upwards of $2 billion in economic value per year, is a way for convicts to pay society for the harm they caused.

The proposal to allow incarcerated persons to vote has upset more than a few critics of this plan. One commenter counts that the change would allow hundreds of thousands of dangerous criminals to have a say in U.S. elections.

The Sanders plan also would ban solitary confinement due to a concern that the practice is “a form of torture and unconstitutional.” But some citizens argue that solitary confinement serves useful purposes.

Additional proposals include creating an Office of Prisoner Civil Rights and Civil Liberties within the Department of Justice, which will ensure that all complaints regarding their rights are investigated by an independent body. It also would end cash bail, create a “registry of disreputable federal law enforcement officers” to ensure that all abusive officers are known in the system, and ban the prosecution of children under the age of 18 in adult courts for any offense.

The U.S. prison system has been in the crosshairs for some amount of reform as it continues to have the highest per-capita prison population in the world, with around 1.5 million behind bars.

Some social media users support the massive reform plan.

Sanders also took to social media to weigh in on his own plan by tweeting a series of statements on what would change.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Josh Estey/AusAID/Wikimedia Commons

6 thoughts on “Sanders’ dramatic prison reform plan stirs strong reactions from citizens

  1. They should just kick all the criminals out, and let us live in the prisons, and have all the bennies…yeah, that’s the ticket! Let the criminals make their own way. That would be punishment enough.

  2. What a great idea Bernie. That’s a super incentive to commit a crime, go to prison and live the good life with all the amenities of the working law abiding citizens that bust their butt for a living.
    When are people going to wake up and just kick this fool out of office. I think he’s going senile but a rich one.

  3. More lies coming out of the cult leader. Anything to get more votes. Just because Vermonters are stupid and keep reelecting him doesn’t mean everyone believes his BS. Maybe he and his wife Jane should be planning their next get rich scam. He stands a better chance of accomplishing that then becoming president.

  4. Let’s see, fee tuition, free health care, forgive outstanding college loans, $15 minimum wage and NOW a kooky prison reform package. WOW, I hope he gets the nomination so voters can end his stupid political career once and for all.

  5. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again and again. This maniac will do ANYTHING to get votes.

  6. Vermont’s own Socialist ” Buffoon ” now wants The “Prisoner Bill of Rights”, they already
    have Rights ….The right to serve the time that was imposed on them for breaking the law,
    why the push now…………….. Oh, yea……. Votes !!

    Most of the fluff that Sanders is proposing already exists within the criminal justice system,
    including Voting, something that’s already allowed in ” Vermont “. So Bernie is looking at the
    big picture, 2.3 million are in incarcerated in the US !!

    With Democrats wanting to eliminate the ” Electoral College ” and Socialist Sanders wanting
    all prisoners to being able to Vote …….. he might just cross the finish line ……….. Shameful

    Yes, Bernie and raise their work wages, so they can buy more contraband……. What an Idiot !!

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