How To Invest In Prisons - In 2015, foundations finally began aligning their investments with their philanthropy: The California Foundation was the first to publicly divest from private prisons in December 2015. Several others have followed suit, including the Heron Foundation and the Hazen Foundation. The Hazen Foundation's Private Prison Investment Policy Statement is below:
The United States, home to only 5% of the world's population, has 25% of its incarcerated population. Similarly, since the 1990s, detention has become the primary mechanism for immigration enforcement. An overreliance on incarceration and detention costs communities of color dearly, despite no documented link to increased public safety. The foundation recognizes that the privatization of prison systems creates a conflict of interest in which profits are placed ahead of the interests of inmates, inmate families, prison staff and taxpayers. Reports show that private prisons have higher rates of recidivism due to a number of problems, such as poor training of prison staff, poor medical and psychological care for inmates, human rights violations and a lack of services to allow incarcerated people to reintegrate into society. In addition, reports indicate that private immigration detention centers may house detainees, including families, in substandard conditions. These issues disproportionately affect low-income people, immigrants, communities of color, and youth communities. In addition, the harmful effects extend beyond the inmates to their families, who must bear the high costs associated with incarceration in addition to the loss of a growing member.
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Therefore, the foundation wants to exclude all companies whose business model is based on mass incarceration. This includes, but is not limited to, companies that operate for-profit prisons, immigration and other detention services, and probation services. Companies that provide ancillary services such as healthcare, telecommunications services, etc. may also be considered for restriction if they demonstrate a pattern of systematic exploitation of current or former detainees. The Foundation understands that this is a difficult question given the lines of business of many companies. He is committed to advocating for the rights of incarcerated people and continues to develop more detailed screening guidelines.
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The foundation uses a number of sources, such as the American Friends Service Committee, to determine which companies should be restricted from potential investment. The Foundation wishes to limit:
Finally, the Foundation wants to support companies that adopt best practices and model policies for creating a fair opportunity policy under the National Employment Law Project. However, data to identify companies that have adopted this policy is not currently available. In the meantime, the Foundation will continue to advocate for the adoption of this policy.
No one should benefit from someone else's imprisonment. This is not only morally repugnant, but also bad policy, as the decades-long expansion of private prisons in the United States has shown.
For-profit prisons have more dangerous conditions, lack adequate oversight, and undermine sound public policy by funding the lobbying for over-incarceration. The industry has multiplied in recent years, particularly in terms of how many immigrants are held in private facilities, and a growing divestment movement has emerged in response.
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Foundations can demonstrate their values and support immigrants and their communities by joining this effort through endowments, reinvestments and other actions.
An estimated 3,100 companies, from private health care providers and food service providers to well-known companies such as Amazon and General Electric, have a financial stake in mass incarceration.
Several coalitions have come together to support divestment from private prisons. These include the Committee on Family Responsibility, which is made up of more than 100 organizations; Real Money Moves, a national union of actors, athletes, artists and activists who have taken their money from the private prison industry; and the Prison Industry Divestment Campaign, a national campaign at the intersection of the criminal and immigration systems.
In response to extensive public pressure campaigns, seven of the 14 banks known to finance private prisons have publicly pledged to stop doing so: JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, SunTrust, BNP Paribas, Fifth Third Bank and, more recently, Banco PNC. In addition, US Bancorp has announced plans to exit the sector and Barclay's has made more limited promises. The top six banks alone represent a potential loss of 72 percent of all future funding to GEO Group and CoreCivic, or an estimated more than $1.9 billion.
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Many large foundations, such as the California Foundation and the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, have divested themselves of private prisons and installed screens to prevent such investments from moving forward, while prominent foundations that continue to invest in ventures such as Bill and Melinda Gates are seeing reputational consequences. .
Divestment from parent companies: Ask your institution's investment committee if the endowment owns CoreCivic or GEO Group stock and, if so, begin divestment discussions. With only two major players in the industry, divesting these holdings and rebalancing your portfolio can be a relatively smoother process. If your institution cannot divest itself of these investments, consider giving your power of attorney to activists to advocate at shareholder meetings.
Expand divestment: Many other companies, from ankle monitoring providers to catering companies, have contracts with public and private immigration detention centers and other prisons. Work with your investment committee or outside consultant to identify such businesses in your institution's estate, discuss the extent to which your institution will divest such businesses, determine what criteria will guide this process, and develop a divestment plan.
Reinvestment and Repair: Move divestment funds from private corrections companies and ancillary services to investments that support communities affected by divested industries, with a focus on community-led organizing and advocacy.
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Explore Your Banking and Advisory Relationships: Begin an assessment of whether the institution where your foundation operates shares your philanthropic values and community orientation. Cash accounts earn comparable returns at most banks, and all deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Consider switching to a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI). If you have concerns about your current bank, but ending the relationship isn't feasible, write a letter or join a session calling for action on these issues. Part of this process may also include re-evaluating your current investment advisor on a similar basis, particularly given their ability to establish socially responsible investment (SRI) practices.
Advocacy groups push back against pension funds that invest in the prison system for profit, including for-profit companies that provide food and phone service to prisons.
The employee-backed nonprofit is lobbying state and local pensions to reconsider its ties to H.I.G. Capital LLC, a $34 billion private equity firm that owns one of the nation's largest prison food service providers.
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The Private Equity Stakeholder Project is calling on public pensions in states like Massachusetts and Ohio to stop investing in H.I.G. if the company refuses to divest its commissary and catering business TKC Holdings Inc. and the assets of inmate health care provider Wellpath, claiming in the report that they cut back while making huge profits at the expense of inmates.
The effort is the latest pushback against the for-profit prison industry by advocacy groups who say public pensions should not invest in a mass incarceration system that disproportionately locks up minorities and houses immigrants fleeing the country.
The desire to abandon the prison industry has been successful. California Public Employees Retirement System and California State Teachers Retirement System, two of the largest public pension systems in the U.S. with combined assets of more than $600 billion, have sold their investments in operators CoreCivic Inc. and Geo Group Inc.
But the campaign comes at a time when sovereign wealth funds are turning to alternative investments in search of higher returns to fill the widening gap between what they earn and what they owe to retiring government workers.
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"If you want to generate income and you haven't encountered actuarial assumptions in public markets, think about private markets," said Joshua Gotbaum, a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution and former director of retirement benefits. Guaranty Corp. "It's a challenge because in the past people used to say to pension funds, 'We don't care what you do with the money as long as you make a profit.'"
Although H.I.G. managed funds. have investments in TKC Holdings and Wellpath, neither the Company nor H.I.G. has a financial interest in any owner or operator of a correctional facility, H.I.G. he said in an emailed statement. Investments in TKC and Wellpath are less than 1%
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