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March 5, 2019 – On news of JPMorgan Chase backing away from financing private prison and detention centers, Presente.org, the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group, issued the following statement:
“JPMorgan has done the right thing to cut off financial support for the private prison industry, said Matt Nelson, Executive Director of Presente.org. “No bank should be profiting from the suffering of immigrants caught up in the private detention industry, which is inhumanely caging and tearing children and families apart.”
The announcement by JPMorgan Chase represents the latest monumental shift activists who have spoken up against abuses of the private prison industry over the years and the #FamiliesBelongTogether campaign—a nationwide grassroots effort supported by more than 100 organizations—have seen after launching a massive campaign calling on JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo to immediately stop their support for the private prison industry.
Additionally, Wells Fargo recently announced that it will no longer actively seek business from the private prison industry (page 42-43 of shareholder report) including the Geo Group and CoreCivic, but will maintain its current investments in the industry, for now.
“Wells Fargo has demonstrated a willingness to consider structural change regarding its dealings with the private prison industry, but it must practice what it preaches—by cutting off all financial support,” said Nelson. “We expect banks to align their actions with the human rights policies they claim to endorse.”
“This has become a moral issue that has put banks in a situation where supporting this industry means supporting the brutal, and often deadly, immigration policies of our current administration,” continued Nelson. “The inhumane and cruel conditions that our immigrant families face in these for-profit detention centers have resulted in torture, abuse, and the deaths of children and other vulnerable people in the last few months.”
For-profit prison corporations like GEO Group and CoreCivic, formerly the Corrections Corporation of America, rake in billions of dollars from Trump’s inhumane policies. By design, private prison conditions are dangerous and inhumane. In order to maximize profits, the private prison industry cuts back on staff training and medical care, while spending millions lobbying government to keep their prisons filled by whatever means necessary. The private prison industry has grown under past administrations—and will continue to expand the cruelty they enable, unless their influence is nixed.
Over 60% of immigrant detainees are held in privately owned facilities, and private prisons receive over $1B a year in contracts with ICE–almost $5.5M a day of taxpayer money. With a clear financial incentive for these companies to detain as many people as possible, these companies destroy communities and have continuously run counter to Wells Fargo’s and JPMorgan’s own human rights policies in the process.
The #FamiliesBelongTogether campaign has received more than 500,000 signatures from across the country in support of defunding the private prison industry.
With more than 500,000 member-activists, Presente.org is the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group; advancing social justice with technology, media, and culture.