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Hillary tells Black Lives Matter she’ll end private prisons

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Hillary Clinton reportedly told leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement on Friday she will get rid of private prisons.

The meeting with Black Lives Matter comes a day after Clinton was heckled by a protester at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala over her ties to the private prison lobby.

The former first lady spoke with activists for 90 minutes in Washington, D.C., and discussed the policies she will promote in her yet-to-be-released racial justice platform. 

{mosads}Activist Deray McKesson, who was in the meeting, said on MSNBC’s “Live with Thomas Roberts” that Clinton “did come out and say she wants to end private prisons.” 

He added, “She hasn’t released a platform yet about racial justice or criminal equity or criminal justice, so I’m hopeful that this conversation will inform that platform.” 

McKesson called the meeting an “opportunity for growth” for Clinton, saying she still needs to learn how to use more transparent language when talking about race.

“We said this to her really candidly, about tightening up the language she uses to talk about people of color,” he said. “I’ve said it before, is that sometimes her language is coded, and you don’t really know if she’s talking about black people or who she’s talking about, and we saw that evident in this meeting, so I think there’s a real opportunity for growth there.” 

A Clinton spokesperson said the meeting provided a valuable opportunity for the Democratic primary front-runner to connect with a younger generation of activists.

“She has said she thinks its important what they are doing,” the spokesperson said. “Obviously there is a generational difference, but she certainly recognizes and appreciates how important that it is that you have activists who are really willing to put themselves out there and push.”

The spokesperson said the protestor must have been unaware of Clinton’s stance on prison reform.

“Unfortunately that person didn’t know that she’s weighed in on that, so we’ll underscore that for folks if we need to.”

Clinton herself did not respond on Thursday night to the heckler, who claimed to be affiliated with the activist group United We Dream. The group put out a statement saying that half of detained immigrants are placed in private prisons. 

The Intercept reported over the summer that several Clinton fundraisers have ties to the private prison lobby.

McKesson also said he has reached out to Republican primary candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and the Republican National Committee to arrange meetings with Black Lives Matter. He called comments made by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who said he would not reauthorize the Voting Rights Act if elected, “deeply troubling.” 

“You know, Jeb’s recent statements have highlighted that he lives in a world as if history did not exist,” McKesson said. “Like, Jim Crow is not too far behind us. There are many people who still remember that time period, and we are not too far removed from it.” 

Ben Kamisar contributed.

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