Join the movement!
You can help build the momentum of abolishing private prisons by working with an organization to pass a resolution in support of the cause. This toolkit can help - but you must act.
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST RESOLUTION
"WHEREAS, prisons for profit encourages longer terms of imprisonment and maximizes profit by minimizing services and rehabilitation; and the Prison Industrial Complex, under the influence of private prison companies that supply goods and services to prisons for profit, is a system of oppression that perpetuates and further criminalizes poverty;
BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE 2018 GENERAL ASSEMBLY ENCOURAGES UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS TO:
Continue to educate ourselves on the adverse impacts of prison privatization and the many injustices in the Prison Industrial Complex such as a) grossly disproportionate impact on marginalized groups, b) Solitary Confinement practices, c) prison-based Gerrymandering, d) voter disenfranchisement and e) employment discrimination."
“The United Methodist Church declares its opposition to the privatization of prisons and jails and to profit making from the punishment of human beings.”
“Since the goal of for-profit private prisons is earning a profit for their shareholders, there is a basic and fundamental conflict with the concept of rehabilitation as the ultimate goal of the prison system. We believe that this is a glaring and significant flaw in our justice system and that for-profit private prisons should be abolished.”
CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF THE SOUTH
“Private prisons are not consistent with the need for our prisons to respect the human dignity of each and every person, we call for an end to all for-profit private prisons. The trend towards more and more people being held in private prisons should be reversed immediately. We call on all levels of government to refuse to sign new contracts or to renew expiring ones with private prison corporations.”
“Resolved, That the Episcopal Church call for a moratorium on further prison construction and the use of private prisons . . .”
“The industry of warehousing prisoners in private prisons has presented a temptation to those who would profit from the punishment of human beings.”
"Resolved, That the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church declare its opposition to for-profit prisons and detention centers, which often set occupancy or “bed” quotas, capitalizing on the criminal, civil, or immigration incarceration of individuals; are a leading factor in the “New Jim Crow,” the disproportionate mass incarceration of youth and men who are Black and Brown; and feed the “School to Prison Pipeline,” which depends on the use of school policing and mandatory sentencing for non-violent crimes; and be it further Resolved, That the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church directs the Treasurer to avoid investment in companies that own and operate for-profit prisons and detention centers."
The "Convention also called for alternatives to incarceration, protection of inmate civil rights, establishment of mentoring and training programs, improved pathways to employment for former inmates, restorative justice, and a flat opposition to any “for profit” prisons or immigration detainment centers."
U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS
“We bishops question whether private, for-profit corporations can effectively run prisons. The profit motive may lead to reduced efforts to change behaviors, treat substance abuse, and offer skills necessary for reintegration into the community.”
Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice (November 2000)
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION
"In 1986, the American Bar Association did ask, and called for a moratorium on private prisons until the “complex constitutional…issues” are resolved.3 The appeal was ignored and the industry boomed. And the ABA’s concerns remain.4 In the interim, a number of legal articles have appeared that continue to question the constitutionality of private prisons."
ISRAELI SUPREME COURT
“Israel’s basic legal principles hold that the right to use force in general, and the right to enforce criminal law by putting people behind bars in particular, is one of the most fundamental and one of the most invasive powers in the state’s jurisdiction. Thus when the power to incarcerate is transferred to a private corporation whose purpose is making money, the act of depriving a person of [their] liberty loses much of its legitimacy. Because of this loss of legitimacy, the violation of the prisoner’s right to liberty goes beyond the violation entailed in the incarceration itself.”
The decision (only available in Hebrew from the Court)
AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS
“Therefore be it RESOLVED, that the American Correctional Officer, and all organizational individual members have a ZERO tolerance of prison privatization.”
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS
NACDL News Release: NACDL Opposes Private Prisons and Urges Sweeping Reforms in the Absence of a Ban
"At its 2017 annual meeting on July 29, 2017, in San Francisco, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) adopted a statement and resolution opposing prison privatization and urging various critical reforms to the extent incarcerated individuals in the United States continue to be housed in privately-operated prisons and jails. The issue was studied in great depth by NACDL's Corrections Committee, which developed and presented the statement and resolution adopted by NACDL's Board of Directors."
JAPANESE AMERICANS CITIZENS LEAGUE
A resolution on the National Council of the Japanese American Citizens League opposing reliance on mass incarceration and private for-profit prisons.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
"Some police and security forces, prisons, jails, and immigration detention facilities, and virtually all services inside prisons, including canteen, phone services, and commissary, have been privatized, placing incarcerated people at the mercy of corporations bent on profiting off of caged Black people."
In 2012 the NAACP passed a resolution calling for abolition of private prisons citing, in part, several church organizations that “have all joined the NAACP in declaring their opposition to profit-making from the punishment of human beings and an abdication of our responsibility to care for our sisters and brothers.”
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Columbia University became the very first university in the country to divest its endowment from the private prison industry. Columbia divested $10 million in holdings from CCA and G4S.
Hampshire College amended the language of its institutional investment policy to include private prisons on a list of specific examples of industries not favored for investing.
University of California Chief Investment Officer announced that the UC endowment–the largest endowment fund in the world–will divest its $25 million in prison investments.