Campaign Updates

ENLACE-POSTER_outline_campaign11x85The Prison Divestment Campaign began in 2011 from the need to launch a comprehensive strategy to decriminalize immigrants and people of color, end detention, end mass incarceration, and demilitarize the border. It was not only Politicians that we needed to target, but also the For-Profit Prison Industry and Wall Street who were the other powerful force behind mass incarceration, the police state, immigrant detention, and deportation. The Campaign has since become a national movement bringing together Black, Brown, and LGBTQ communities to end mass incarceration and immigration enforcement. The movement is working to divest from criminalization and incarceration, and demand reparations and reinvestment in our communities!

Enlace builds alliances among organizations working on immigrant rights, criminal justice, another social justice groups to end mass incarceration and achieve legalization for all immigrants. For additional information visit Enlace’s webpage

Campaign to End Mass Incarceration, Deportations & Detention

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The Prison Divestment Movement is part of a larger movement called #FreedomCities that is redefining what Safety and Freedom mean for our communities.

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The Human Right to Divest

Via Medium | By Amanda Aguilar Shank

Article 1 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights states that human beings are “endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of [siblinghood].” Today we celebrate that since the Declaration was drafted 49 years ago, people have used it as a tool to develop the field of human rights so urgently needed in the United StatesThe Declaration was drafted well before the for-profit prison industry exploded on Wall Street, but we apply it to our fight every day at Enlace, an international multiracial alliance of working people that organize for self-determination. For the past 9 years Enlace has impacted the field of human rights in the US through our Prison Divestment campaigns and earlier this year, we achieved an enormous victory in Portland, Oregon. Our aim with the public was to bring to light the fact that profiting from the separations of families of color including immigrants, violations of human rights, and general pain caused by prisons is inhumane and unacceptable.

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Under Trump, the Private-Prison Boom Shows No Sign of Slowing

Via The Nation | By John Washington

Prisons in the United States are as old as the Republic. Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Jail, first locking people up in 1775, began the country’s centuries-long, ongoing experiment in incarceration. It wasn’t until the following decades, however, also in Philadelphia, that men convicted of crimes were placed in small, mostly isolated cells in conditions approximating those in most modern penitentiaries.

The new take (small cells for individuals or pairs) on an old idea (dungeon-like lockups), championed by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Benjamin Rush, came, in part, from the “Quaker-inspired belief that criminals could benefit from spiritual reflection, which could lead them to see the errors of their ways and live a life devoid of crime,” Lauren-Brooke Eisen writes in her new book, Inside Private Prisons: An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass Incarceration. As Eisen explains in this timely work, a quiet spot for spiritual reflection is a far cry from what the modern American penitentiary system offers to those convicted of (or sometimes only charged with) a crime. Today the 2.3 million people in American prisons and jails suffer from a variety of humiliating and oppressive conditions, including economic exploitationsexual assaultindefinite solitary confinementsubstandard medical caredisgusting foodfilthy living conditionsgross neglectcruel and unusual punishment, and even what many describe as slave labor.

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What is the best way to hold Private Prisons to Account?

Via Newsweek | By Lauren-Brooke Eisen

In the past year, three major cities have launched divestment campaigns from the private prison industry, following on the heels of a slew of major universities breaking ties with companies that profit from over incarceration.

Just a few weeks ago, for instance, the Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement voted to withdraw its $1.2 million in investments the GEO Group, CoreCivic, and G4S, which all own and operate prisons.

In June, New York City made headlines as the first large public pension system to fully divest its portfolio from these companies, citing concerns about health and safety violations plus alleged human rights abuses.

And in April, Portland’s city council voted to end all new investments in corporate securities, including those with the private prison industry.

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JPMorgan Chase Is Funding and Profiting From Private Immigration Prisons

 

One of America’s largest banks, JPMorgan Chase, is quietly financing the immigration detention centers that have detained an average of 26,240 people per day through July 2017, according to a new report by the Center for Popular Democracy and Make the Road New York. Through over $100 million loans, lines of credit and bonds, Wall Street has been financially propping up CoreCivic and GeoCorp, America’s two largest private immigration detention centers.

The two organizations, part of Corporate Backers of Hate, a campaign from multiple immigration and social justice advocacy groups committed to revealing Wall Street’s financial ties to the Trump administration, examined Securities and Exchange Commission filings to determine the extent of the financial connections, and how much Chase stands to benefit from the mass incarceration of immigrants.

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Fight Congressional Proposals to Expand Immigration Enforcement and Criminalization

Via National Immigration Project

Congress must pass legislation to fund the government for 2018 called an “appropriations” or spending bill. Congress is now negotiating the details of the 2018  federal spending bill.  Without the passage of a spending bill, the government faces the threat of a shutdown.

 These negotiations also include proposals to help DACA recipients and immigrant youth.  However, the spending bills will likely include immigration enforcement and new criminalization laws that will increase deportations, as well as more funds for immigration jails and interior and border enforcement agents.

Supporting a clean Dream Act means advocating for legal status for DACA recipients and immigrant youth without harmful provisions that will criminalize all immigrants and facilitate mass deportation and mass incarceration.

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Yale University Students Urge Divestment from Private Prison Corporations

Via Correctional News | By Rachel Leber

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Yale University Students for Prison Divestment (YSPD), a group that advocates for Yale to divest from private prison corporations, held a panel discussion on private prisons and mass incarceration on Dec. 1.

The discussion was held in one of the common rooms at Davenport College in New Haven — one of the 14 residential colleges of Yale University. During the panel discussion, three major speakers answered questions moderated by members of the YSPD. These speakers included Bianca Tylek, director of the Corrections Accountability Project; Carl Takai, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union National Prisons Project; and Eli Hager, a staff writer for the Marshall Project.

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As The Criminal Justice System Changes, So Does A Private Prison Giant

Via International Business Times | By Lydia O’Neal

At a halfway house in southeast Pennsylvania last May, a former prison inmate on his way to reentering society died of a heroin and fentanyl overdose, the eighth person to die of a drug overdose there since the start of 2016, and the fifth in the first five months of 2017 alone, the Reading Eagle found in a November report that documented egregious mismanagement.

“Nobody’s going to get any kind of help in there,” Dawn Zdanowicz, who was released from the facility in November, told International Business Times. Her roomate was among those eight to fatally overdose. “If you’re going to run a dual diagnosis center, you have to have the training that goes with that.”

What took place there was a microcosm of not only the nation’s opioid crisis, but shifts within the criminal justice system that are pushing private prison companies toward business opportunities in the market for halfway houses, which treat many of the nation’s addicts on their way out of prison.

The Pennsylvania facility, known as the Alcohol & Drug Addiction Parole and Probation Treatment center, or simply ADAPPT, was acquired in April by politically-connected GEO Group Inc., better known for its private prison management. The previous manager, now a GEO subsidiary, is Community Education Centers, a private contractor known for its halfway houses. (GEO declined to comment on Zdanowicz’s criticism of ADAPPT.)

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