United Methodist Church Divests from CCA and GEO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, January 6, 2012

United Methodist Church Divests from CCA and GEO

The Pension Board of the United Methodist Church announced on January 3, 2012 that it has divested all of its Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group holdings.  The Church’s General Board of Pension and Health Benefits is the largest faith-based pension fund in the United States and ranks among the top 100 pension funds in the country.

“It is immoral to profit from putting families into cages for deportation. Institutions like the UMC are courageously paving the road for others to follow.  All public and private institutions should follow the UMC’s example and divest their pensions, bank accounts, and urge local governments to divest as well.  We need to tell our financial institutions to invest in healthcare and education rather than the abusive for-profit industry.” said Peter Cervantes-Gautschi, Executive Director of Enlace.

In addition to the United Methodist Church, a major hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, has also divested.  Bill Ackman, the head of the hedge fund, oversaw Pershing Square’s divestment of over 7 million shares.

Since last May 2011 a growing number of organizations of conscience have been calling on all investors to divest their holdings in the private prison industry in a nationally coordinated effort spearheaded by Enlace.  The Occupy Wall Street movement has joined immigrants in demanding that major investors like Wells Fargo and Bank of America withdraw their investments from prisons and into positive ventures like education and healthcare.

The private prison industry is the largest financial force behind overpopulation in our prisons, through lobbying efforts that increase penalties and incarcerations of immigrants and people of color by the federal government and by states such as Arizona and Georgia, which recently passed legislation that accelerates the detention of immigrants. CCA and the GEO Group are the two largest private prison companies in the United States.  Major prison investors include Fidelity, Vanguard, General Electric, Scopia, and Wells Fargo.

Enlace coordinates the Prison Divestment Campaign which brings together Occupy Wall Street, immigrant rights groups, criminal justice groups and religious organizations to expose for-profit prison companies as the money behind the wave of anti-immigrant laws and policies.  Together they represent a growing movement demanding corporate accountability by ensuring people over profit.  Major prison investors include Fidelity, Vanguard, General Electric, Scopia, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

For more information contact Enlace at info@enlaceintl.org or 213-284-3802.

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