STARVING THE PRIVATE PRISON BEAST
In other excellent news, New York has become the first major city to fully divest its public pension funds from the private prison companies that profit from the racism, violence, and corruption of this country’s criminal-justice system. In an announcement on June 8, City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced that New York had sold more than $48 million in stocks and bonds from three different companies—G4S, GEO Group, and CoreCivic. Besides private prisons, the latter two companies also operate for-profit immigration detention facilities. The move comes after multiple media investigations, including several by The Nation, as well as a series of federal audits, found a pattern of human-rights abuses and gross ineptitude across the industry.
“With Donald Trump in the White House, we’re seeing more and more industries try to profit from backwards policies at the expense of immigrants and communities of color,” Stringer said in a statement, when announcing the divestment action. “But because of this major new step, we are demonstrating that we will not be complicit. We are standing up for what’s right.”
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the City Council voted unanimously on June 27 to begin taking steps toward divesting $40 million from its holdings in Wells Fargo, which has come under fire in recent years for defrauding consumers, funding the Dakota Access pipeline, financing private prison corporations, and otherwise engaging in disreputable practices. Los Angeles joins numerous other cities, from Seattle, Washington, to Missoula, Montana, that have announced their intentions to cut ties with the banking behemoth.