The business of incarceration is a bad financial investment that perpetuates significant societal harm disproportionately impacting Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, costs the country an estimated $1 trillion each year (6% of national GDP), and depends on systemic racism to be profitable.
Over the last two years, businesses, financial institutions, and organizations have made funding and action pledges to end systemic racism, suggesting a willingness to take active and concrete steps to address police brutality and to reckon with the disparate application of the criminal justice system. It is now time to ensure the pronouncements and promises of 2020 are fulfilled.
We, the undersigned, are committed to a new fiduciary mindset based on the foundational principle that our investments NOT promote and center harm.
Further, we prioritize and insist that our investments be directed to regenerative infrastructure and community-based public health and safety that lead to equitable and inclusive economic growth.
We urge our colleagues in capital markets - investment banks, asset managers, counsel, advisors and investors - to dissociate themselves from any “opportunity” to underwrite or finance the prison industry. Any such action flies in the face of public statements to promote and create racial and economic opportunities for Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples and to address centuries of social and environmental injustice. We believe there should be zero tolerance for any company, municipality, investor or business model that is dependent on the captivity and imprisonment of fellow human beings.
The state of Alabama and other states are planning to issue bonds to build new prisons. We ask that you join us to:
Publicly denounce and refuse to participate in Alabama’s, or any state’s, efforts to expand prison growth.
Support positive, productive investments in education, healthcare, clean water and sanitation, and resilient economic development across the country that uplifts our communities rather than punishes them.
Urge capital market participants to explicitly refrain from financing public or private prisons and the growth of mass incarceration.