Why the United Methodist Church Divested from Private Prisons

Why the United Methodist Church Divested from Private Prisons

By Bill Medford| January 11, 2012 | ACLU Blog

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, considered caring for those imprisoned to be one of the highest priorities in his ministry. That legacy has been carried forward by the many passionate United Methodists today who are committed to ministries of healing and restoration for the millions impacted by the U.S. criminal justice system. Continue reading

United Methodist Church Divests from Private Prisons!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Jan. 5, 2012)

Social justice agency salutes pension fund for divesting from private-prison investments

Urges other organizations of conscience to do likewise and send a message condemning mass incarceration for profit.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) salutes the recent announcement of the denomination’s pension fund divestment from private-prison corporations and the establishment of a permanent screen on such investments. The agency also issued a call for all organizations and institutions of conscience to divest from the private-prison industry.

GBCS applauds the decision of the United Methodist General Board of Pension & Health Benefits (GBPHB) to divest from two of the largest private, for-profit prison entities: Corrections Corp. of America (CCA) and GEO Group. Continue reading

United Methodist Church Pension Board screens out private-prison investments

Board screens out private-prison investments

A UMNS Report | By Heather Hahn | January 5, 2012

Angela Moyo protests outside the Nashville, Tenn., headquarters of Corrections Corporation of America on Nov. 14. UMNS photos by Kathleen Barry.
Angela Moyo protests outside the Nashville, Tenn., headquarters of Corrections Corporation of America on Nov. 14. UMNS photos by Kathleen Barry.
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Private prison companies are big business. But, is it moral for United Methodists to make a profit from the incarceration of people?

The United Methodist Church’s pension agency has pondered that question since May. The Board of Pension and Health Benefits announced Jan. 3 its decision to prohibit investments in companies that derive more than 10 percent of their revenue from the management and operation of prison facilities.

“It came down to that profiting from the incarceration of others was just not consistent with our view of what the (denomination’s) Social Principles ask for,” said David Zellner, the board’s chief investment officer. Continue reading

United Methodist Church pension plan locks out prison-related investments

United Methodist Church pension plan locks out prison-related investments

By Barry B Burr | Pensions & Investments | January 4th, 2012

General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church, Glenview, Ill., banned investment in companies involved in private prisons.

The board, which oversees the $16.7 billion pension fund, adopted a policy to screen out companies that “derive more than 10% of revenue from the management and operation of prison facilities,” including jails, penitentiaries, detention centers, prison camps and transfer centers at the federal, state, county or municipal level, the statement said. Continue reading

United Methodist Pension Board Approves Private Prison Investment Screen

For Immediate Release January 3, 2012
GBPHB Board Approves Private Prison Investment Screen
Glenview, IL—The board of directors of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church (GBPHB) today announced the decision by the board’s Fiduciary and Executive Committees of the addition of a sixth investment screen that would prohibit investment in companies that derive more than 10% of revenue from the management and operation of prison facilities. The GBPHB Statement of Administrative Investment Policy has been amended to include this screen.

Rationale
The Interagency Task Force on Immigration brought the issue of private or for-profit prisons to the attention of GBPHB. The board of directors’ UMC Principles Committee engaged in extensive discussion earlier in 2011 regarding GBPHB investments in companies that operate prison facilities. In November, the committee recommended and referred a resolution to the Fiduciary Committee of the board to amend the Statement of Administrative Investment Policy, which governs the administration of the GBPHB’s investment program. The committees recommended that companies that derive more than 10% of revenue from managing and/or operating prison facilities be screened out of the investment portfolio. Continue reading