Recognizing that we all have ties to the for-profit private prison industry, cities are working to cut those ties.
In the Pacific Northwest, home of GEO Group's notorious Northwest Detention Center, city divestment resolutions are moving forward in Seattle and Portland. Last week, the Human Rights Commissions of both cities endorsed resolutions calling on their cities to divest from private prisons and their major investors.
Major investors in private prisons provide the support for the private prison industry to lobby for policies that unjustly imprison immigrants and people of color in out-sourced facilities where sexual abuse, coerced labor, medical neglect, and other atrocities are rampant. CCA and GEO rely on financing from public institutions to lobby for contracts and laws that result in mass incarceration and mass immigrant detention. Investors share responsibility for CCA and GEO’s efforts to turn our communities, especially our communities of color, into commodities--into criminals and detainees--to fill private prisons and detention centers. As long as our cities are invested in major private prison investors, we are all complicit in profiting off this human suffering.
In Portland, Crystal Contreras of the Portland Central American Solidarity Committee, Sara Swetzoff of Portland State University Student Union, and Isabel Sheridon of the First Unitarian End the New Jim Crow group joined campaign coordinator, Jamie Trinkle, to provide powerful testimony to the Human Rights Commission on the need for immediate divestment from major private prison investors. We applaud the leadership of the Portland Human Rights Commission in endorsing our call for city divestment from any investor owning over 1 million shares combined of CCA and GEO stock.
We need the continued support of organizations and individuals to move these city divestment campaigns forward. Please join us. Write to jamie @ enlaceintl.org if your organization will endorse our local campaigns.