Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson said that he believes “in many cases” ensuring the successful re-integration of prisoners into society “may mean we should be offering some practical training” and that it would be a lot cheaper to take care of the mentally ill in dedicated facilities than the current system where they end up in prison during CNN’s Republican Presidential Town Hall on Wednesday.
Carson said that the US puts “a lot” of people in prison who don’t need to be in prison, and that the consideration should be whether someone is being imprisoned for life, or if they’ll be re-integrated into society. He continued, “If they are going to be reintegrated into society, we need to be thinking about how are we going to make that a successful re-integration? In many cases that may mean we should be offering some practical training. There’s no reason that people can’t learn how to become a welder, or a plumber, or a whole host of different things. Plus, you know, there are high level courses where people can learn mathematics and engineering schools. So, we really ought to be thinking about how do we take these people, and turn them away from a life that’s going down the wrong pathway, to one where they become part of the fabric of success in America.”
Carson added that reform would mean re-examining mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, non-violent offenders. He added, “[W]e need to look at those who are mentally ill. There are a lot of mentally ill people who are being housed in prisons. That doesn’t make any sense. We have facilities all over the country, that are sitting empty, because we have decided that it’s too expensive to take care of the mentally ill. So they end up on the street, where frequently they become victimized by people, and then they wind up in the criminal justice system. And then we put them in amongst people who are violent criminals. … That doesn’t make any sense. So, I think it would be a lot cheaper if we begin to take care of these people the way they should be taken care of. And there’s going to be, quite frankly, plenty of money to take care of people, when we stop doing the silly stuff that we’re doing, with all of these unnecessary regulations, which tamp down our business, with a tax system that absolutely is asinine and makes no sense whatsoever.”
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