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Hillary Clinton on Private Prisons: Candidate No Longer Accepts Funds from Private Prison Lobbyists

First Posted: Oct 23, 2015 03:02 PM EDT
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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will no longer accept contributions from political action committees (PACs) and lobbyists affiliated with private prison companies.

According to her campaign, any existing donations from private prison supporters will be donated to charity.

A statement from ColorOfChange said Clinton's decision is a positive step that private prison companies' influence on politicians is "waning." ColorOfChange claimed groups such as the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group have spent millions to lobby control in the criminal justice system.

"Clinton's decision to cut ties with private prison lobbyists, after discussions with ColorOfChange and other racial justice activists, is a clear sign that the industry's influence is waning," ColorOfChange's team wrote, claiming the Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has received funds from GEO Group, later adding, "Clinton's decision to cut ties with private prisons lobbyists is an encouraging step toward demonstrating the strength of her stated commitment to ending mass incarceration."

Presente.org, regarded as the largest online Latino organizing group, also applauded Clinton's latest position.

"This is a victory for the more than ten thousand Presente.org members who took action and urged Clinton's campaign to cut ties with this horrible industry, and for thousands of other activists who have demanded that she cut ties with the prison industry. Now it's time for the presidential candidates who still accept private prison money to follow suit and commit to a future where no one is imprisoned for profit," said Matt Nelson, managing director for Presente.org.

Presente.org recently parted ways with Arturo Carmona, who served as the organization's executive director, as he went to work for Sen. Bernie Sanders', I-Vt., presidential campaign. As Latin Post reported, in the Senate, Sanders introduced the "Justice is Not For Sale Act of 2015," which calls for the end of privately-run prisons and the closure of immigrant detention centers, unless an immigrant is proven to be a threat to public.

Fellow Democratic presidential candidate, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, opposes private prisons.

"Governor O'Malley did not allow private prisons in Maryland and would not allow them as President. Governor O'Malley has led the field in proposing the most detailed, progressive, and concrete changes to fix our inhumane immigration system," said O'Malley Director of Public Engagement Gabriela Domenzain in a statement to Latin Post.

Groups have criticized Clinton for accepting funds from private prison lobbyists. On Oct. 8, during the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's gala in Washington, D.C., an undocumented immigrant youth interrupted Clinton as she was presenting an award. The immigrant, Juan Carlos Ramos of United We Dream (UWD), an immigrant youth-led organization advocating for the fair treatment of fellow immigrants and families, spoke about the former secretary of state accepting funds from private prison groups. Coincidentally, Clinton's Latino Outreach Director Lorella Praeli previously worked for UWD.

Following Clinton's announcement on Friday, UWD Managing Director Cristina Jimenez said Clinton acted "because of pressure from immigrant youth and organizations working towards racial justice."

Jimenez said UWD will continue to fight against GEO Group and CCA, adding, "Communities of color are rising up to break apart the systems of oppression which criminalize our people. We will continue our fight against corporations and elected officials until we achieve full dignity and freedom for the immigrant community."

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For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: m.oleaga@latinpost.com.

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