Private prisons are financing America's next political leaders behind closed doors — and we can stop them.
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Private prisons are incentivizing anti-Black mass incarceration by bankrolling the election of America's leaders.1 It's unknown exactly how much private prison companies are giving to which 2016 candidates, but any amount influences the policies that shape our lives. In order to disrupt these toxic relationships and clear the way for dismantling mass incarceration we need to know the truth.
Will you donate $15 to expose which 2016 candidates have private prisons in their pocket? If you give today, we'll share our research with you first.
We saw the importance of exposing private prison donations last month when Hillary Clinton cut ties with private prison lobbyists.2 Once The Intercept broke the news of $133,246 in private prison contributions to the Clinton campaign, ColorOfChange had what we needed to start a series of open conversations that ended in Clinton's decision to cut ties.3 Every politician that publicly stands up to the industry brings us one step closer to ending for-profit imprisonment; without political support the industry cannot survive.
For-profit prison companies use direct contributions, lobbying and political relationships to keep the private prison industry alive — and it works. Over the past two decades, companies like Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group have given $10 million to candidates who then make it their job to stand in the way of much-needed criminal justice reform.4
- GEO Group has given $40,000 to presidential candidate Marco Rubio, who subsequently pushed through a $110 million new GEO Group prison while a Florida senator.5
- Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) paid Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley — who is single handedly blocking sentencing reform today — the maximum direct donation possible.6,7
- This past June, private prisons donated $30,000 to the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.8,9
What we know about private prison corruption is just the tip of the iceberg. The harder to find information — donations pushed through lobbyists, company employees and other entities — will only be revealed if we take matters into our own hands.
Private prison companies make $3 billion a year off the torture and abuse of Black and brown people.10 Their business model — sell people like you "sell hamburgers" — depends on willing politicians to keep the engine of mass incarceration running.11 If at least 1,000 people gave just $15 dollars we could afford to hire someone to look through the pages upon pages of public record detailing how much money private prisons are funneling into elections. For the first time in decades, politicians on both sides of the aisle are calling for criminal justice reform.12 It's a historic moment, but private prisons are standing in the way of transformative change. We need to know which politicians have committed to keeping us locked up and locked out in order to hold our future leaders accountable for ending mass incarceration.
Private prison companies operate in the shadows. DONATE JUST $15 TODAY to help expose and stop prison profiteers. Once you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.
Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Lyla and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.
1. "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=6&akid=5052.1942551.3amulE
2. "Hillary Clinton Pledges to Stop Accepting Money From Private Prison Lobbyists," The Intercept 10-23-2015http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5506?t=8&akid=5052.1942551.3amulE
3. "Private Prison Lobbyist are Raising Cash for Hillary Clinton," The Intercept 07-23-2015
4. See reference 1.
5. See reference 1.
6. "Corrections Corporation of America Political Action Committee," Federal Elections Committee 02-2003
7. "Will one man keep Americans locked up in prison?" CNN 02-23-2015
8. "Chuck Fleischmann for Congress Committee," Federal Elections Commission 04-13-2015
9. "Corrections Corporation of America Political Action Committee," Federal Election Commission 06-09-2015
10. "The Dirty Thirty: Nothing to Celebrate About 30 Years of Corrections Corporation of America," Grassroots Leadership (.pdf) 06-2013
11. See reference 9.
12. "Criminal justice reform gains bipartisan momentum," Politico (.pdf) 07-15-2015
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