Hillary Clinton may have found a way to get an edge in the upcoming elections. She presented a proposal to end private prisons, a topic that rarely appears on presidential campaign agendas.
A recent swing-voter focus group provided feedback from the state of Pennsylvania. People attending the debate applauded her for criticizing the private prisons’ system, and for the fact that she acknowledged this is a serious state issue. Her harsh stance on private prisons could be just what she needs to swing the vote in her favor.
Frank Luntz was behind the focus group, in which 27 people participated. At first, there were 28, but one man claimed he will be voting for Trump, so he had to leave the group. Reporters could see on a screen how the members of the focus group felt about each candidate and their statements.
Trump got quite a lot of thumbs-up when he began to criticize the NAFTA trade deal, and subsequently promised to renegotiate the agreements. But his score crashed when he tried to explain his reasons for refusing to release his tax returns. And he was met with the same reaction when explained why he wanted to see President Obama’s birth certificate.
Clinton herself faced both positive and negative reactions. The undecided voters had a particularly negative reaction when she started bashing Trump’s birtherism. But they warmed up when Clinton spoke about her the small business her dad owned.
Private Prisons Are Sore Spot for Pennsylvania
However, the positive results of this conversation didn’t even come close to the numbers she achieved when she started talking about putting an end to private prisons. Her number kept going higher and higher as she pointed out that crime rates are nearly as high as Trump makes them out to be. Her favorability continued to go up as she stated that the justice system tends to be harsher towards black and Hispanic men.
Finally her favorability soared when she praised the Department of Justice’s initiative to stop using private prisons. And she concluded by saying that she will do her best to end private prison contracts.
After the end of the debate, focus group participants explained why they had been so enthusiastic about Clinton’s stance on private prisons. The state of Pennsylvania, where the focus group took place, faced an infuriating scandal over the past years. The scandal, which goes by the name of “Kids for Cash,” began five years ago.
A Pennsylvania judge received a 28-year sentence for receiving a number of bribes from a private prison owner. The private prison company and the judge had an arrangement, in which the judge would receive money for every he sent to the prison. Often, he would violate the children’s right to an attorney to do this. All in all, the Pennsylvania state supreme court sent about 4000 kids to prison.
Naturally, the whole community was affected by this scandal. The affair touched the lives of the children that had received sentences in violation of their rights. But it also affected their families and friends of these children. And the larger community of Pennsylvania residents who found out about the news. Even though the scandal erupted in 2011, for many it is still a sore spot.
Image Source: Flickr