Hillary Clinton has agreed to stop accepting direct contributions
from private prison lobbyists.
Now it's time for other candidates to follow her leadership.
Click here to help hire a Campaign Finance Researcher:
Hillary Clinton has agreed to stop accepting money from private prison lobbyists and to donate the direct contributions received thus far.1
It's a big deal — for the past 40 years, private prison companies like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group have spent millions to influence politicians that control criminal justice policy so they can continue to profit off anti-Black mass incarceration.2 Clinton's decision to cut ties with private prison lobbyists, after discussions with ColorOfChange and other racial justice activists, is a clear sign that the industry's influence is waning.
Now, the writing is on the wall for other candidates. While we know that Marco Rubio has received thousands of dollars from GEO Group, there isn't enough public research on how much money private prison lobbyists are donating to other presidential candidates.3 This key information is buried in complicated financial documents that could take weeks to go through — time we don't have. With only two full time organizers working in our criminal justice department — and tons of campaign work — we need your help to make sure for-profit prisons play no role in choosing America's elected-leaders.
Click here to donate $15 to hire a Campaign Finance Researcher to investigate how much money private prisons are donating to presidential and congressional candidates.
When we learned that the Clinton campaign had accepted contributions from private prison lobbyists and bundlers, Black and brown people across the country raised their voices, including our friends at Black Lives Matter, Get Equal, Presente and United We Dream.4 After open and substantive discussions between ColorOfChange and the Clinton campaign, Clinton committed to never taking money directly from private prisons lobbyists moving forward. At a time when companies like GEO Group and CCA exercise unchecked power in our political process, her leadership on this issue is all the more important.
Private prison companies are responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses targeting Black communities in America, especially Black trans women who are disproportionately targeted by police.5,6Companies like CCA and GEO Group are focused on one thing: profit. And in order to make the most money for their shareholders, they cut corners on critical health, safety and rehabilitative services, creating some of the worst conditions in the country. Over the past 25 years, CCA and GEO Group have given $10 million to candidates and spent $25 million lobbying for laws that put more people in prison.7 Now, these companies are hard at work figuring out how to profit off growing political support for "alternatives to incarceration," launching highly exploitative electronic monitoring and probation services that bankrupt low-income Black folks.8
We must stop these shameless prison profiteers in order to build the necessary political power to end today's racial caste system. Clinton's decision to cut ties with private prisons lobbyists is an encouraging step toward demonstrating the strength of her stated commitment to ending mass incarceration. With politicians on both sides of the aisle agreeing that we have a crisis of over-incarceration, it's time to end the influence of private prisons on our political process for good.9 If enough people donate today, we can access the type of important information we need in order to hold candidates accountable for ending ties with for-profit prisons.
Thanks and Peace,
Rashad, Arisha, Scott, Lyla and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.
1. "Criminal Justice Reform," HillaryClinton.com, updated:10-22-2015
2. "How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about," Washington Post 04-28-2015http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5399?t=8&akid=4929.1942551.uhbryj
3. See reference 2.
4. "Private Prison Lobbyist are Raising Cash for Hillary Clinton," The Intercept 07-23-2015
5. "Too Good to be True: Private Prisons in America,"(.pdf) Sentencing Project, 01-2012
6. "Prison and Detention Reform," National Center for Transgender Equality (.pdf) 2012
7. See reference 2.
8. "Chain Gang 2.0: If You Can’t Afford This GPS Ankle Bracelet, You Get Thrown In Jail," International Business Times 09-21-2015
9. "Gaming the System," (.pdf) Justice Policy Institute, 06-01-2011
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