unmasking private prison investors


It has long been my belief that the individuals and companies behind the injustices perpetrated against young people must be unmasked, otherwise reform will never take place. CCA and GEO are the two largest private prison companies in the US, and these are the biggest shareholders profiting from their growth and practices.

Do what you will with this information. My own son works for one of these investors, and this information will certainly affect how I advise him. He is a deeply ethical young man, and it is essential that he knows his employer is working against my goals.


Million Shares Club: 36 Major Private Prison Investors

by the Prison Divestment Campaign

June 12, 2014

There are 36 US-based major financial investors that own over one million shares of CCA and GEO combined. The following companies each own over 1 million shares of CCA and GEO, and collectively own over two-thirds of CCA and GEO:

American Century Companies Inc.
Ameriprise Financial Inc.
Balestra Capital LTD.
Bank Of America Corp.
Bank Of New York Mellon Corp.
Barclays Global Investors
Blackrock Fund Advisors
Carlson Capital LP
Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn LLC
Dimensional Fund Advisors LP
Eagle Asset Management Inc.
Epoch Investment Partners, Inc.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Hamlin Capital Management, LLC
ING Investment Management, LLC & Co.
Invesco LTD.
Jennison Associates LLC
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Keeley Asset Management Corp.
Lazard Asset Management LLC
London Co. Of Virginia
Makaira Partners LLC
Managed Account Advisors LLC
Morgan Stanley
Neuberger Berman Group LLC
New South Capital Management INC
Northern Trust Corp
Principal Financial Group Inc
Renaissance Technologies LLC
River Road Asset Management, LLC
Scopia Capital Management LLC
State Street Corp
Suntrust Banks INC
Vanguard Group INC
Wells Fargo & Company

Without the financial support of major investors like Vanguard and Wells Fargo, CCA and GEO alone would not be strong enough to successfully lobby for policies that increase the federal government’s demand for private prisons. With these powerful allies, however, they have been able to sway public policy in favor of more severe “tough on crime” laws and the increasing criminalization of immigrants.

The financial services industry now makes up a third of the US economy, and its members collectively own over two-thirds of CCA and GEO Group. It is the most powerful lobbying force in both Washington DC and in state governments. To address the root causes of anti-immigrant and other racist legislation, it is imperative that we expose and sever the financial ties that allow shareholders to cash in on the incarceration of immigrants and people of color.

Divestment from these financial services companies because they support CCA and GEO will force these companies to change their investment practices if they want to continue making a profit. With enough public pressure, these 36 major investors will divest or create portfolio screens shielding their investments from making their way to CCA and GEO. Once deprived of the financial support of their investors, CCA and GEO will lose capital and with it, their ability to lobby for stricter punishments, anti-immigration laws, and more contracts.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Fleetwood Mac performing “Behind the Mask


3 Responses to “unmasking private prison investors”

  1. June 20, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Making profits is not condemnable by itself, it is the motor of the economy. And the major economic actors who stand behind private prisons companies are not humanitarian associations. Their objectives are profits for their shareholders, not people’s welfare. As long as the private prison companies are lucrative affairs, they will continue to support them, despite public pressure.
    Rendering Justice is a sovereign act. Offenders are sentenced under the authority of the State, so it’s State’s responsibility to insure all the aspects of their life as long they are incarcerated. States should not elude their responsibilities in this matter in subcontracting the housing, monitoring and mentoring of prisoners, especially the youngest of them. States should return to the policies pursued before that Reagan and his pals had arrived at the controls.
    So, the public pressure should rather focus on politicians. If, under such a pressure, contracts were not renewed, if CCA, GEO or other companies become unable to make money, they would quickly lose their financial support. The return of State authority in all aspects of the penal system would kill private prisons societies by depriving them from the profits they expect more surely than public pressure on their sponsors.
    But this involve a radical change in many States policies, a change who can only occur if voters decide to act in this sense by electing people wanting to really reform the system, even if such a change appears as a return to the past. And it is this who seems be the most difficult to obtain.

    • June 20, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Couldn’t have been said better by any corporatist, but I’m sorry; I couldn’t disagree with you more. Corporations are responsible for acting well, just as are individuals. Now that the Supreme Court is holding that corporations have freedom of speech, so they should be held to the same levels of responsibility in other areas as persons are. Being a corporation doesn’t mean cherry-picking benefits and responsibilities as it suits you.

      • June 21, 2014 at 1:30 am

        Dan, sorry if I appeared as defending corporate interests to your eyes. It wasn’t deliberate, only a finding. I agree with the idea that societies should have moral values, act well and be responsible for what their activities can induce. But most of them haven’t such values, despite what they can say. Their main objective is making money, more profits for their shareholders or themselves, nothing else.
        They are too much focused on their own financial welfare, not enough on public interests. That’s why I believe that public pressure on corporations will not affect them seriously. There is more to hope in a change of State’s attitude toward private prison companies, under the pressure of voters.

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