$25 Million Prison Divestment Victory at University of California

PRESS RELEASE | For Immediate Release | December 18, 2015UC Divests

$25 Million Prison Divestment Victory at University of California

Multi-racial National Coalition Celebrates Growing Momentum for Prison Divestment with the Second University Divestment Victory This Year

Oakland, CA – The University of California Chief Investment Officer announced yesterday that the UC endowment will divest $25 million in prison investments, making the UC system the second major university to divest of private prisons after a similar decision in June of this year at Columbia University. The University of California endowment has been targeted by a national prison divestment effort led locally by the Afrikan Black Coalition and Black Student Unions across California for its unethical prison investments.

ABC Political Director, Yoel Haile, states, “This victory is historic and momentous. Divesting $25 million is a good step towards shutting down private prisons by starving them of capital. This is a clear example of Black Power and what we can achieve when we work in unity. This victory belongs to the masses of our people languishing behind America’s mass incarceration regime.”

“This incredible victory by Black UC students and their allies is a victory that says Black, Brown, and immigrant lives will not be bought and sold by educational institutions. This is an important step in the ongoing narrative to divest from prisons and criminalization, and invest in communities. CUNY and Cornell are the next in line to divest.” said Amanda Aguilar Shank, Senior Organizer at Enlace, convener of the National Prison Divestment Campaign. “Like the City of Portland, UC also needs to divest from prison financier Wells Fargo and invest funds in humanity.”

A growing national movement for prison divestment has brought to light the active role that For-Profit Prison Industry leaders, the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), play in lobbying to criminalize communities of color and immigrants. Last week, the California Endowment became the first foundation to publically divest from the for-profit prison industry.

“We commend the University of California’s endowment for its leadership, as evidenced by its decision to divest from the for-profit prison industry,” said Daniel Zingale, senior vice president of The California Endowment. “Community health and justice is central to our mission, and we support programs and services that work towards prevention and not incarceration.”

Hamlin Capital Management, LLC, a long-time holder of more than 1 million shares of CCA stock, fully divested its holdings worth $31.6 million in the third quarter of 2015. Hamlin was not the only member of the Million Shares Club to completely cut its ties to private prisons this year. In 2015, ING Groep divested over a million shares of GEO stock, worth $57.5 million, and Makaira Partners LLC divested $35.1 million worth of stock in CCA.

The national Prison Divestment Campaign is a collaboration of immigrant rights, criminal justice, faith, labor, LGBTQ, students and worker centers working together to end the prison industry, deportations, and detention, and to demand a reinvestment in humanity.

Contact: Yoel Haile, Afrikan Black Coalition 408-821-4795; Daniel Carrillo, Enlace 323-303-4434

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