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In Gift to Donors Trump Administration to Expand Use of For-Profit Prisons, Rescinding Obama Decision



Crime and Incarceration Rates Are Down So Why Does Jeff Sessions Think He Needs More Prisons?

For the first time in decades, under President Barack Obama the federal prison population fell, at least five percent. The Obama administration’s Dept. of Justice last year issued guidance that stated the federal government would phase out its use of for-profit corporate prisons. That guidance was based on studies that prove for-profit prisons keep inmates incarcerated longer and do not reduce rates of recidivism – returning to the inmate population once released. In other words, they don’t work any better, and actually work worse that government-run prisons. And the conditions they force inmates to endure are in many cases terrible.

Trump administration Attorney General Jeff Sessions has just reversed the Obama-era decision, and will be moving forward with for-profit prisons.

Even though crime is down as are levels of incarceration, the new Attorney General does not anticipate that to continue.

The Obama-era guidance, ironically, was signed by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, whom Trump fired after she refused to defend his unconstitutional Muslim travel ban in court.

Claiming that decision has “impaired” the Bureau of Prisons’ “ability to meet the future needs of the federal correction system,” Sessions has issued new guidance reversing Yates’ decision.

Which means two things.

First, the Attorney General plans to lock up a lot more people. In fact, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer just hours ago announced the federal government will be enforcing federal marijuana laws, regardless of state laws that conflict with federal laws.

But Sessions also has a horrific system of beliefs when it comes to incarceration and the rule of law.

The Nation’s Ari Berman last month wrote that “Sessions’s extreme views on crime and punishment are a throwback to the darkest chapters in American history,” in an article titled, “Jeff Sessions Could Return Criminal Justice to the Jim Crow Era.”

But that’s likely OK with Sessions. A 2011 ACLU report states “The United States imprisons more people — both per capita and in absolute terms — than any other nation in the world,” and finds private prisons are making a fortune from it. President Obama tried to lower America’s mass incarceration rates and deprive private prisons of federal dollars.

That’s about to change.

Oh, and secondly, private prisons donated big bucks to Trump’s campaign Super PAC and his inauguration fund. Bigly. (And it may have been illegal.)

For them it’s a matter of pure business – just look at these recent headlines:

Private prisons back Trump and could see big payoffs with new policies (USA TODAY)

Trump Sets Private Prisons Free (The New Yorker)

Trump’s New Immigration Crackdown Has Private Prison Investors Salivating (The Intercept)

The Private Prison Industry Is Licking Its Chops Over Trump’s Deportation Plans (Mother Jones)


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Mystery Grand Jury Witness in Trump Hush Money Probe Is Former ‘Enquirer’ Publisher and Trump Ally



Avid followers of the Manhattan District Attorney’s moves noted the grand jury had been called into service for Monday, and soon news leaked that yet another witness would be testifying in the probe into Donald Trump’s alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

Monday afternoon, NBC News’ Garrett Haake reported live on MSNBC that the mystery witness was David Pecker, the former tabloid publisher of the “National Enquirer,” who reportedly had been looking for stories in 2016 to protect Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Haake notes Monday was Pecker’s second appearance before the grand jury in the hush money case.

The New York Times also reported David Pecker as the grand jury witness, calling Pecker “a key player in the hush-money matter. He and the tabloid’s top editor helped broker the deal between the porn star, Stormy Daniels, and Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s fixer at the time.”

READ MORE: ‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting

“While the focus of Mr. Pecker’s testimony is unclear, he could provide valuable information for prosecutors. A longtime ally of Mr. Trump, he agreed to keep an eye out for potentially damaging stories about Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign,” The Times reports. “For a brief time in October 2016, Ms. Daniels appeared to have just that kind of story. Her agent and lawyer discussed the possibility of selling exclusive rights to her story of a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump to The National Enquirer, which would then promise to never publish it, a practice known as ‘catch and kill.'”

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman weighed in, noting, “nothing about that decision [to have Pecker testify] suggests any change of heart on Bragg’s part to indict Trump.”

Former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman, an NYU professor of law, notes that Pecker’s “testimony can show the [hush money] scheme was designed to affect outcome of election.”

“He reportedly communicated directly with Trump on payment,” Goodman adds.

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‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting



First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, speaking Monday afternoon at a National League of Cities conference, told attendees, “Our children deserve better,” as she broke the news of the Nashville school mass shooting at Covenant Presbyterian School where three children and three adults were shot dead.

“You know,” Dr. Biden, herself an educator and clearly pained by the news, began her remarks by saying, “I hate to say what I’m gonna say next because you know you’re so enthusiastic and with so much energy and hope and I feel it.”

“But while you’ve been in this room, I don’t know whether you’ve been on your phones but we just learned about another shooting in Tennessee, a school shooting and I am truly without words and our children deserve better, and we stand – all of us – we stand with Nashville in prayer.”

READ MORE: New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies

The First Lady, a former public high school English teacher and currently a professor of English at a community college, was speaking at the organization’s Congressional City Conference.

Watch Dr. Biden below or at this link.

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Death Toll Rises to Six as Three Children and Three Adults Declared Dead In Covenant School Mass Shooting (Streaming Video)



Six people have now died after a shooter shot and killed three young children and three adults at The Covenant Presbyterian School, a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee. Police say the shooter was a 28-year old woman who had two assault rifles and a handgun.

WSMV announced the rise in deaths on-air, noting that the shooter is also dead. A police spokesperson later increased the announced death toll from five to six. Including the shooter the death toll is seven.

Live streaming video via CBS News below.

This article has been updated with additional video.

1:56 PM ET: Updated to change age of shooter based on new reporting from WSMV.

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