Emma Weaver, Reporter
Nola Allinger, Reporter
Matt Trovalli, Reporter
CARROLL, IA – Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders promised to prioritize education and employment over incarceration.
“I believe we should be investing in education and jobs, not just more jails and incarceration,” Sanders (D-Vt) said to the public in a town hall meeting in this west central Iowa city 90 miles northwest of Des Moines.
Josh Esdohr , a high school senior who attended the event with his government class expressed his concern about issues most important to him.
“I’m just worried about getting to college and getting through college,” Esdohr said. “Paying off college tuition and just trying to find a job and hold it down and find a way to keep yourself fed, keep a roof over your head and feed a family is what it comes to.”
Sanders expressed at this county meeting that youth unemployment is a major issue in America today. He stated that 33 percent of Caucasian high school graduates are either unemployed or underemployed – Latinos 36 percent and African-American 51 percent.
He attributed these high levels of youth unemployment to a corrupt criminal justice system in America.
“If anyone thinks there’s not a correlation between youth unemployment and the fact that we have more people in jail today than any other country on earth, I think you’re wrong,” Sanders said.
The 2010 US Census announced 110 prisons have been opened or renovated between 2000 and 2010. The National Center for Education Statistics says in the same time period 16,941 schools have been closed nationwide.
According to Sanders, the US criminal justice system is corrupt and is expanding because it targets the wrong people.
He blamed the greed of major financial institutions as the cause for a major economic downturn.
“Millions of people lost their jobs, their homes, their life savings because of the greed and illegal behavior of these people,” Sanders said, “And how many of them have been prosecuted? How many of them will have a criminal record? The answer is zero.”
Sanders was referring to the settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Goldman, Sachs & Co. where the business was forced to pay a $550 million fine and reform its business practices, which included misleading investors about a subprime mortgage process just before the housing market collapsed.
This kind of behavior is exactly what Sanders vows to stop on Wall Street and why he refuses to take any money from large corporations. In fact, the average campaign donation for Sanders is a whopping $27.