CCA and GEO Group have lost a high-profile investor–the United Methodist Church–are these for-profit prison operators feeling the pain? The Church pulled out nearly $1 million worth of stock.
Private prison operators have lost a high-profile investor, now that one of the nation’s largest Protestant churches has pulled its money from the companies.
A spokesperson for the board said the decision was not based on finance, but morality. “Our board simply felt that it did not want to profit from the business of incarcerating others,” Colette Nies, managing director of communications for the board, told The Crime Report. She added: “We believe that profiting from incarceration is contrary to Church values.”The decision comes after a year of lobbying by the National Prison Divestment Campaign, a coalition of immigrant rights, criminal justice and other organizations targeting CCA and GEO. The effort seeks to convince private and public institutions that for-profit prisons are a bad idea.
One of the major objections to private prisons is that, unlike normal prisons, they have no incentive to rehabilitate prisoners because private prisons profit from keeping people incarcerated. Last week CCA was the subject of controversy when it was revealed that it was offering to buy state-owned prisons and operate them for 20 years on the condition that the states keep the prisons at least 90% full.
Among the largest investors in CCA and GEO are Manhattan-based BlackRock Inc., and Boston-based Wellington Management Company and Fidelity Management and Research. The president and CEO of CCA is Damon T. Hininger and GEO’s chairman of the board and CEO is George C. Zoley.