Ben Carson thinks prison is too comfy: "I was flabbergasted by the accommodations"

The famed neurosurgeon left a recent visit to a prison thinking prisoners live high on the hog

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published July 22, 2015 8:54PM (EDT)

  (AP/Lenny Ignelzi)
(AP/Lenny Ignelzi)

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson does acknowledge that the United States is imprisoning far too many of its citizens, but the acclaimed neurosurgeon thinks the problem lies not in over criminalization but rather in prisons being just too comfortable to leave.

Speaking at a recent Young Republicans conference, Carson explained that like President Obama, he too had visited a federal prison. According to the Washington Post, Carson acknowledged that "a lot of people that we incarcerate don’t need to be incarcerated," declaring "we're not doing things the right way."

"I was flabbergasted by the accommodations -- the exercise equipment, the libraries and the computers," Carson told the Young Republicans, explaining that during his visit he learned that "a lot of times when it's about time for one of the guys to be discharged, especially when its winter, they’ll do something so they can stay in there."

Carson went on to explain his controversial statement to reporters after the event:

I think that we need to sometimes ask ourselves, 'Are we creating an environment that is conducive to comfort where a person would want to stay, versus an environment where we maybe provide them an opportunity for rehabilitation but is not a place that they would find particularly comfortable?'

Carson previously claimed that "a lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight -- and when they come out they're gay."

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia Tesfaye

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2016 Elections Criminal Justice System Dr. Ben Carson Gop Prison