The Democratic candidates for president gathered in New Hampshire for CNN's Democratic Town Hall on Wednesday
The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the event and selected key statements, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it's complicated
The Democratic candidates for president gathered in New Hampshire for CNN’s Democratic Town Hall on Wednesday, and CNN’s Reality Check team spent the night putting their statements and assertions to the test.
The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the event and selected key statements, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it’s complicated.
Reality Check: Sanders on America’s large prison population
By Kate Grise, CNN
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said there are “more people in jail in America than any other country.”
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were more than 2.2 million adults held in local jails and in prisons in the United States in 2014.
The Chinese have 1.66 million people locked up in their prison system, while the Russian prison population doesn’t hit a million, with about 644,000 people incarcerated, according to the Institute for Criminal Policy Research.
However, the institute notes that China’s incarcerated population is probably higher since that number does not include people held in detention centers. In 2009, an additional 650,000 people were held in detention centers, according to numbers reported by Chinese government officials.
Just based on those raw numbers, we rate Bernie Sanders’ claim as true.
However, many experts say it is best to compare the prison population rate of countries.
By this measure, the United States locks up 698 per 100,000 people, which puts it at second, according to the ICPR.
Only the island nation of Seychelles tops the United States with 799 prisons per 100,000 people. However, some incarceration experts say that it is unfair to compare Seychelles, with a population of about 90,000, to the United States, a country with more than 300 million people. The Prison Policy Initiative did not include countries with less than half a million residents when they published their 2014 States of Incarceration report “to make the comparisons more meaningful.”
China’s rate is 119 prisoners per 100,000 people and Russia’s is 446 per 100,000.
Even when looking at the numbers from a different perspective, we still rate Sanders’ claim as true.
Reality Check: Sanders on $16 billion to veterans health care
By Ryan Browne, CNN
When asked by an Army veteran about his position on veterans issues, Sanders referenced his record in passing a bipartisan bill to address veterans’ health care.
Sanders said: “It was the most significant piece of veterans health care legislation passed in modern history. We put some $16 billion into veterans’ health care, as well as in taking care of veterans in a number of other areas.”
The 2014 bill was co-sponsored by Sanders and Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain and came in the wake of a series of systemic scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs that involved cover-ups and the failure to deliver adequate care. The bill did indeed involve a $16.3 billion overhaul of the department.
The bill called for the building of more VA medical facilities, the hiring of more doctors and nurses, increased funding to allow some veterans can get health care in private facilities, and also made it easier to fire or otherwise discipline senior VA officials.
Soon after the bill’s passage, McCain, a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war, told The Hill newspaper that Sanders “does have a record of advocacy for our veterans.”