Private prisons, politicians, local institutions, and the Million Shares Club are all profiting from keeping immigrants, people of color, and the poor locked up. Let's take these players on...
Two publicly-traded companies dominate the private prison market in the U.S. : Corrections Corp of America (CCA) and GEO Group (GEO). CCA and GEO are notorious for abusing inmates, understaffing, and committing fraud at their for-profit prisons and detention centers. Both lobby the government for contracts and for policies that promote mass incarceration and immigration enforcement. In 2012 alone, they netted $3 billion of our taxes and spent over $1.8 million on lobbying and campaign contributions.
33 major investors own nearly all CCA and GEO stock. Each of these 33 investors owns over 1 million shares of private prison stock, so they have a huge stake in the growth and success of the prison industrial complex. With the financial and political support of the Million Shares Club, CCA and GEO are able to successfully lobby for policies that increase government demand for private prison, like "tough on crime" laws and criminalizing immigrants.
Most of us are invested in private prisons–our universities, cities and faith institutions are invested with the Million Shares Club, which has no portfolio screen preventing the investment of our money in for-profit prisons. Some states, universities, cities and pension funds are even directly invested in CCA and GEO.
It is unconscionable that our local institutions are using their investments–our money–to profit from and promote mass incarceration and immigration enforcement. We call on our local institutions to divest!
Federal politicians have the power to stop private prisons. Members of the Budget and Appropriations committees have the most power to cut off funding for wasteful contracts with CCA and GEO, and for inhumane immigration enforcement policies.
Unfortunately, many politicians take lobbying and campaign contributions from GEO and CCA. Others have assets in the Million Shares Club. Many politicians have both.