What the DOJ’s new private prison policy could mean for the prison divestment movement

gettyimages-477243052Via Fusion

By Casey Tolan | 8/19/16

For years, activists have urged companies, pensions, and universities to divest from private prisons—with only limited success. But yesterday, when stocks of the two biggest private prison companies in the country fell more than 35%, might signal a new frontier in the divestment movement.

The companies, Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group, saw their respective stock nosedive after the Department of Justice announced it would phase out its use of private prisons, ending contracts as they expired and shifting inmates out of privately run facilities.

Executives of the two companies say they will see only a limited impact from the DOJ decision, and tried to reassure spooked investors in conference calls Friday morning. But activists say the huge falloff gives them a powerful new argument in favor of divestment.

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BREAKING: Justice Department Sets Precedent For Ending Private Prisons

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Today, the Department of Justice announced that it will begin to phase out federal Bureau of Prisons contracts with private prisons, which make up approximately 15% of revenues for prison companies GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America. The move will impact those incarcerated in Criminal Alien Requirement prisons, where some of the worst recent prison abuses have taken place.

“Today’s announcement is a welcome move that has shaken the perverse notion of profiteering from imprisonment,” said Daniel Carrillo, Executive Director of Enlace, convener of the National Prison Divestment Campaign. “The Prison Divestment movement has pushed investors to realize that profit extracted from suffering is morally and financially a dead-end strategy. Financial backers like Wells Fargo and Bank of America are increasingly being called out for their role in investing in and lending to private prisons. The 40% drop in stock price that Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group have seen today is the beginning of the end of prison profiteering.”

Black, immigrant, and LGBT communities are pushing back against private prison corporations who now profit not only from prisons, but also immigrant detention and an expansive array of re-entry services, addiction treatment, rehabilitation services, and electronic monitoring. Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration commented that, “We are more than happy with this development, but we are a long way from addressing the 2 million people in prison and the ever growing presence of police in neighborhoods where basic survival needs are not being met.”

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President Obama & DHS: Stop paying For-Profit Companies to Lock Up Immigrants!


Via Presente.org

The incarceration of immigrants has skyrocketed under President Obama, allowing the private prison industry to rake in massive profits by locking up immigrants in facilities where they often face abuse, violence, unsanitary conditions, and lack of proper medical care.

The Department of Justice is phasing out the use of private prisons, saying that they are less safe, less secure, and less effective. But the Department of Homeland Security – which incarcerates immigrants hands out most of the federal government’s contracts to private prison companies – is continuing business as usual.

The DOJ’s decision is important because it shows that the Obama administration is starting to acknowledge that mass incarceration is out of control and that imprisoning people for profit can’t be justified. But unless we push President Obama to do more, it won’t make a difference for thousands of immigrants locked up in for-profit dungeons.


BREAKING: Federal Bureau of Prisons to end private prison contracts in historic move

The Department of Homeland Security should follow suit and pull out of for-profit contracts for immigrant detention centers, including family detention camps

(AUSTIN, Texas) — Today the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it will instruct the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to phase out private prison contracts with the eventual goal of eliminating their use in the federal prison system.

The BOP will amend an existing solicitation for a prison contracts that was originally for 10,800 beds to no more than 3,600 beds. By May 2017 the total BOP private prison population will be less than 14,200 — a 50 percent reduction from its high in 2013. As contracts come up for renewal over the next five years, the DOJ recommends that the BOP should work to reduce and eliminate more private prison facilities.

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Via Not 1 More

Tell DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to Terminate and Refuse to Renew Immigrant Detention Contracts with Private Prison Companies!

The Department of Justice announced that it is cancelling its contracts with private prison companies because of dangers and abuses outlined in exposés and a recent official government report(1).


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The Monetization of Misery


Thursday, August 18, 2016 (New York) – Glenn E. Martin, founder and President of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) issued the following statement in response to the recent announcement by the Department of Justice.

JustLeadershipUSA welcomes the US Department of Justice’s decision to end its reliance on private prisons.  The growth of the private prison industry into a multi-billion dollar enterprise is one of the most toxic byproducts of the ‘war on drugs.’ The rapid and explosive growth of the country’s prison population during the 1980s and 1990s produced a need for an ever increasing number of prison beds, and this need gave rise to what amounted to the monetization of misery as companies like the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group were quick to cash in.

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Feds mete out justice on private prisons

Via Reuters | By Richard Beales |August 18, 2016

Not every Washington secret gets leaked. The U.S. Department of Justice surprised investors in the for-profit prison sector on Thursday with the news that it will phase out the use of private contractors to incarcerate federal prisoners. It’s an industry that has attracted enough questions to provoke divestment campaigns – and these can pose financial, not just moral, dangers.

Shares of Corrections Corp of America and GEO, the largest publicly traded jailers, both lost around 40 percent of their value by 2 p.m. EST in New York, wiping out over $2 billion of market capitalization.

The Bureau of Prisons – the focus of a recent critical report by the DoJ’s inspector general and of the department’s decision – accounted for just 11 percent of CCA’s revenue and 16 percent of GEO’s in 2015. Add other federal agencies, though, and roughly half of each company’s top line is at stake, even if no state customers follow suit.

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