President Barack Obama said the Pelican Training Institute and the University of Delaware’s International Center for Human Rights Training, which was closed after the Boston Marathon bombings, are “worse” than a “prison.”
“I’m not saying that there are not some really great programs out there,” Obama said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
“But they are a little bit worse than a penitentiary.”
The president, who is visiting a Pelican-training institute near Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday, is expected to lay out his agenda for overhauling federal criminal justice policies.
“They are not a prison.
They are not where you put people, they are not what they did in a prison, but they are far worse than that,” Obama told Bloomberg, referring to the institutions.
The former president also said he is considering revamping the Pell Grants program for college students, which has become an issue in the current election season.
Obama also said the administration is considering increasing the maximum sentences for drug offenders.
The Justice Department has said that drug offenders will be sentenced to life in prison for a minimum of 20 years.
While Obama said he was “not advocating for any particular form of punishment,” he said the “wisdom of the age” means that people convicted of drug crimes should be put to death rather than put to work.
Obama also discussed the possibility of expanding the use of drones, a major domestic security policy issue.
The president said that while he supports the use and expansion of drones by the military, he believes they should be used by the private sector.
“There are some people who have the right to use drones to kill people, but that should not be used to kill civilians, particularly people who are innocent,” Obama, who also serves as commander in chief, said in the interview.
“The way we do that, in a democratic society, is through due process.
And if it is the case that someone is guilty of something, they should face a penalty, they ought to be punished.”
The president said he would also consider putting more of the Pentagon’s $350 billion F-35 fighter jet program back into civilian production.
He also said that he is still considering the potential for expanding drone flights over U.S. soil.
Read moreThe president is expected at the Pelicano Training Institute, a training center for inmates and former inmates, on the first day of his visit to the state.
The institution closed its doors after the bombings of the Boston marathon, but it reopened after the deaths of two U.K. tourists who died while on a tour of the island nation.