Make the Road New York and Center for Popular Democracy Celebrate After JPMorgan Withdraws Financing of Private Prisons, Reported by New York Times

Posted on March 7, 2019

JPMorgan Chase Stops Funding Private Prison Companies, and Immigration Activists Applaud

Originally Published in New York Times on March 6, 2019
Written by Emily S. Rueb

Immigrant rights advocates and organizers celebrated a victory this week after JPMorgan Chase & Company said it would no longer finance private operators of prisons and detention centers. Privately run prisons have become the government’s default detention centers, despite reports questioning the facilities’ safety. In addition to securing lucrative government contracts, these private companies have also borrowed money from large banks. A spokesman for JPMorgan Chase & Company, Andrew Gray, said the company had “a robust and well-established process to evaluate the sectors that we serve.” “As part of this process,” he said, “we will no longer bank the private prison industry.”

Ana Maria Archila, the co-executive director for the Center for Popular Democracy, said in an interview that the bank became a focus for its role in profiting from “the caging of humans,” which she described as a “morally bankrupt act.” “I am reminded that when we dare to protest, even when it seems impossible, that we actually lift up the veil on things that were not visible,” said Ms. Archila. Several activists and politicians embraced the news, including New York City’s comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, who called the development “huge.”

On Valentine’s Day this year, Make the Road New York, an immigrants rights group, sent a mariachi band and protesters with “Break Up With Prisons” signs to the townhouse of JPMorgan Chase & Company’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon. “If we come together and are diligent,” Javier H. Valdés, the group’s co-executive director, said Tuesday, to “build strong coalitions and work with powerful allies, we can actually win and help shift the narrative of enforcement in this country.”

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