Here’s Why New York City’s Pension Program Just Divested From Private Prisons

By Kenrya Rankin Jun 09, 2017

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced yesterday (June 8) that the city is now the first “major public pension system” in the United States to pull its retirement investments from private prison companies. Here’s why Stringer said the move—which included the sale of $48 million in stocks and bonds from three companies—was necessary.

With Donald Trump in the White House, we’re seeing more and more industries try to profit from backwards policies at the expense of immigrants and communities of color. But because of this major new step, we are demonstrating that we will not be complicit. We are standing up for what’s right. Our criminal justice system has failed a generation of Americans because, for decades, we built bigger prisons instead of greater schools, and we were “tough on crime” instead of “smart on crime.” Society used mass incarceration as an economic development strategy at the expense of communities of color. Today, we’re taking action. As President Trump ratchets up hateful rhetoric and steps up deportations, private prison companies are going to see enormous reputational harm—and that means they’ll become even riskier investments. Morally, the industry wants to turn back the clock on years of progress on criminal justice, and we can’t sit idly by and watch that happen. Divesting is simply the right thing to do—financially and morally.

Read the full statement here.