• Petitioned Members, Churches and Organizations of The United Methodist Church

This petition was delivered to:

Members, Churches and Organizations of The United Methodist Church

United Methodists Against Unjust Investments

    1. Petition by

      The General Board of Church and Society

Jesus so identified with those in prison that he told his followers that to visit someone in prison is to visit him. The prophet, Amos, thundered against the people of God for dehumanizing the poor and vulnerable to the extent that they sold the poor for a pair of sandals. John Wesley both highly valued ministry to the imprisoned and spoke out against making profits from the mistreatment of the poor.

Followers of Jesus are called to care for the vulnerable in society and not profit from their marginalization. In contradiction to this call, The United Methodist Church currently owns stock in two companies, GEO Group (formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections Corporation) and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), whose sole business is to profit from the incarceration of individuals.

The private prison industry is a fast growing industry and extraordinary profits are made from such investments, with these two companies posting profits of 2.9 billion by the end of 2010. These profits are at the expense of people of color. Private prison corporations, such as GEO Group and CCA, lobby hard for anti-immigrant legislation, such as seen in Arizona with SB 1070 and Georgia with SB 87. Private prisons are also responsible for neglect and abuse in prisons. Such legislation and examples of abuse and neglect directly contradict United Methodist stances and biblical teaching.

We, as United Methodists, believe that profiting from private prisons and owning stock in private prison corporations like GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America is incompatible with biblical teaching. Therefore, we call for The United Methodist Church to:

1. Immediately divest from all investment in private prison corporations, including Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group, and
2. Take all money earned to date of divestment from ownership of the stock in Geo Group and CCA, and give it to organizations dedicated to helping those coming out of prison to reenter society.

 

For further study:

http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/privateprisons

http://www.npr.org/2011/03/25/134850972/town-relies-on-troubled-youth-prison-for-profits

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130833741

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/05/142058047/who-benefits-when-a-private-prison-comes-to-town

http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/banking-bondage-private-prisons-and-mass-incarceration

Immigrants for Sale, http://youtu.be/vuGE1VxVsYo

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/29/world/asia/getting-tough-on-immigrants-to-turn-a-profit.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/us/19prisons.html?_r=1

http://www.justicepolicy.org/uploads/justicepolicy/documents/gaming_the_system.pdf

 

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Pension & Health Benefits divests from for-profit prisons & adds screen

      The United Methodist General Board of Pension & Health Benefits (GBPHB) plans to divest from two of the largest private, for-profit prison entities: Corrections Corp. of America (CCA) and GEO Group. GBPHB is also added a new investment screen to prohibit investment in companies that derive more than 10% of revenue from the management and operation of prison facilities.

    2. Reached 1,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Ryann G. PEMBROKE PINES, FL
      • over 2 years ago

      Please sign this anti-private prison petition as well. http://www.change.org/petitions/state-of-florida-private-prison-siting-criteria

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    • Corrine Bayley LANGLEY, WA
      • over 2 years ago

      I have done ministry in prisons. They are all unjust , but the private prisons are the worst. I am shocked that the UMC hold stock in these prisons. There are so many worthy corporations. Please find them and divest from the private prisons, in the name of Jesus Christ!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • nancy riker WASHINGTON, DC
      • over 2 years ago

      prison does not rehabilitate. corporations are making millions for the wrong reasons

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    • Robin Will PORTLAND, OR
      • over 2 years ago

      The institutional church is NOT the Body of Christ when it is profiting from prisons. Please correct this problem immediately, apologize publicly, and make amends as necessary.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Irene Jackson IRVING, TX
      • over 2 years ago

      As a Christian and a citizen I do not believe we should have corporations profiting from the incarceration of prisoners. This is a government function so that the motivations of the departments and persons operating the prisons will be based on appropriate considerations that are other than profit based.We as United Methodist should not be investing money in such an enterprise. Divest today!

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