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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. ” – César Chávez, UFW

BNP Paribas and Fifth Third Commit to Stop Financing Private Prison Industry

The Families Belong Together Corporate Accountability Committee Celebrates Victories

July 15, 2019

This weekend, BNP Paribas announced it will stop financing the U.S. private prison industry, becoming the fifth major bank to step away from private prisons; and just today, Fifth Third announced a similar move to stop financing private prisons. In response, the Families Belong Together Corporate Accountability Committee released the following statement:

“The millions of people and more than 100 organizations representing the Families Belong Together Corporate Accountability Committee are encouraged by BNP Paribas’s decision to no longer finance the U.S. private prison industry and immigration detention companies. By becoming the first non-US based bank to exit the private prison industry, BNP Paribas is responding to the fact that consumers in the U.S. are concerned about their banks’ role in incarcerating immigrants and communities of color. And by becoming the first regional U.S. bank to step away from private prisons, Fifth Third is setting a precedent for other regional banks to follow.

“According to a recent report by the Center for Popular Democracy, the Public Accountability Initiative, and In the Public Interest, of the banks financing CoreCivic and GEO Group, US Bank, Barclays, Regions, Citizens, PNC, Pinnacle Bank, First Tennessee Bank, and Synovus Bank are the remaining institutions who have yet to make this commitment. Banks should have no role in financing private prisons, and we call on these institutions to follow suit and recognize the sea change of public support for halting the financing of an industry that profits from the pain and suffering of families.”

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The private prison industry has documented histories a of human rights abuses and detains over 70 percent of immigrants in ICE custody and is profiting from mass incarceration and the criminalization of immigration. CoreCivic and GEO Group — the country’s two largest private prison companies — depend on debt financing from banks to conduct their day-to-day business operations, finance new facilities, and acquire smaller companies.

The Families Belong Together Corporate Accountability Committee, made up of more than 100 organizations, calls on banks to immediately stop their financial support for GEO Group and CoreCivic. The committee has signed petitions by the hundreds of thousands, delivered messages to local banks, and taken direct action outside corporate headquarters and bank branches in cities across the country. Partnering organizations include:

Action NC
Candide Group / Real Money Moves
Center for Popular Democracy
CMSM
CREDO
Daily Kos
Families Belong Together
Global Exchange
Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network
ICCR
In the Public Interest
La Colectiva de Mujeres
LittleSis
Make the Road New York
Make the Road New Jersey
Mujeres Unidas y Activas
MoveOn
MomsRising / MamásConPoder
National Domestic Workers Alliance
Presente.org
Rainforest Action Network