Things That Matter

Here’s How US Banks Are Jeopardizing The Financial Future Of Private Prisons

Activists have been protesting to end the for-profit prison system. While there hasn’t been a lot of movement there, there is finally some news that shows the mounting pressure is working. Two major private prison companies, GEO Group and CivicCore have lost all of their major bank partners shutting down crucial credit lines. People are celebrating the announcement.

Infamous private prison companies CivicCore and GEO Group are in a lot of financial trouble.

Credit: @RAICESTEXAS / Twitter

According to Forbes, GEO Group and CivicCore are losing $2.4 billion in credit lines from the banks who were still doing business with them. For reference, that is 87.4 percent of all of their future funding. This is major news as the private prison system has relied on the investment and funding from these banks.

The two companies are behind the growth of the private prisons and detention centers littered throughout the country.

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JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, SunTrust, BNP Paribas, Fifth Third Bancorp, Barclays, and PNC have all pledged not to renew their business with the two incarceration-based companies. Private prisons are a rather new phenomenon in the U.S. and has led to questionable practices. Many critics question the business model that strives to increase the population and time of those incarcerated to make money.

People are celebrating this news as a move in the right direction.

Credit: @MonaVieBeachBum / Twitter

While the big banks have walked away, some smaller regional banks are still supporting the companies for now. Those banks include Regions (based in Birmingham, Alabama), Citizens Bank ( based in Providence, Rhode Island), Pinnacle Bank (based in Nashville, Tennessee)First Tennessee Bank (based in Memphis, Tennessee), and Synovus Bank (based in Columbus, Georgia).

Some folks took to Twitter to share dismay int he banks stepping away from the companies, but their arguments fell flat.

Credit: @Tocqueville001 / Twitter

It’s interesting that some people want private businesses to do what they want only when it benefits their views. It is hard to argue that these private companies should be sued for ending their business when you want private prison businesses to thrive.

The bottom line is that people do not want to know that people are financially profiting off of keeping people in prison.

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Polls show the Americans favor rehabilitation over tough penalties and punishments. The mood is so favorable toward rehabilitation that even President Trump spoke about criminal justice reform.

Now, it seems activists might move their focus at for-profit bail companies.

Credit: @UdiACLU / Twitter

The for-profit cash bail bond industry is notoriously racist and classist. The concept of making people pay cash to be released from jail as they await their court date disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color.

READ: US Immigration Officials Are Using Google Translate To Read Migrant’s Social Media Posts Instead Of Hiring Actual Translators

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Despite Promises, President Biden Looks To Reopen A Child Migrant Center Facing Sexual Assault Allegations

Things That Matter

Despite Promises, President Biden Looks To Reopen A Child Migrant Center Facing Sexual Assault Allegations

Since taking office in January, President Biden has been hard at work addressing everything from the nation’s COVID vaccine program and economic response to comprehensive immigration reform. However, several of his planned changes have hit major roadblocks as federal judges (many appointed by Trump) strike down his new policies.

But despite much of his administration’s progress on issues that affect the Latino and immigration communities, the administration is seriously considering reopening one of the country’s largest child migrant detention centers.

The Biden administration looks to reopen the Homestead facility for children.

The Biden administration is facing a sharp increase of unaccompanied child migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border and they’re considering reopening one of the nation’s most controversial detention centers.

The Miami Herald reported that the feds might reopen the Homestead site under the name Biscayne Influx Care Facility, an announcement that has caused outrage among advocates working towards ending the detention of children altogether.

“That place has a history of all kinds of abuse and profiting off the lock-up of children,” said Lis-Marie Alvarado, program director of the Miami-based organization American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which led the call for Homestead’s closure in 2019. A move to reopen the facility is “appalling and a slap to our faces,” she said.

The center has a troubling history of sexual assault allegations.

The facility was in the news in 2019 following shocking allegations of sexual abuse and prison-like conditions, which drew the condemnation of several Democratic candidates for president, including current Vice President Kamala Harris.

Detaining children, particularly in such dire conditions, “is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government,” she told a small crowd. Harris later described seeing “children lined up like prisoners” as heartbreaking. 

Homestead first opened as a temporary shelter in 2016 under President Barack Obama, closed the following year, and was reactivated in 2018. Between March 2018 and August 2019, it housed more than 14,300 unaccompanied minors ranging from 13 to 17 years old, including dozens who had been torn from their parents under Trump’s policy of separating families. The average length of stay in the facility was 52 days by March 2019, with some minors spending almost four times as long.

The hypocrisy of the administration is truly frustrating.

Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In June 2019, then-Senator Kamala Harris (and candidate for president) visited the Homestead facility demanding that it be shut down. She, along with several other Democratic lawmakers, joined a series of rallies at the center to denounce Trump’s cruel immigration policies. The facility was subsequently shut down just a month later after mounting public pressure.

But now, a year and half later, the facility might be reopened under the Biden-Harris administration.

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Menendez Brother Of 1989 Murders Forced Into Solitary Confinement After Receiving Hoax Marijuana Package In Prison

Things That Matter

Menendez Brother Of 1989 Murders Forced Into Solitary Confinement After Receiving Hoax Marijuana Package In Prison

Photo by Kypros/Getty Images

Just when you thought the Menendez brothers would be out of the public eye for good, a bizarre story thrusts them back into the spotlight.

Back in October, TMZ reported that Erik Menendez (of the notorious Menendez brothers murder duo) had received a package of marijuana at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.

Before the package could reach Menendez’s hands, a prison official intercepted it. Shortly after, Menendez was moved into solitary confinement, as receiving recreational drugs in jail is definitely a no-go.

According to TMZ, prison officials were investigating whether Menendez “planned on either distributing the weed or using it as currency, or whether it was just for his personal use.” But now, the case is closed.

Per the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, “the investigation is complete and the allegations against him were unfounded.”

There is no word about who would have thought to send Erik Menendez a package of marijuana while he is literally in federal prison. Sounds like someone who is almost as unhinged as he is.

Erik Mendenez, along with his brother Lyle Menendez, are both serving life sentences without parole for the murder of their parents, José and Kitty, Menéndez in 1989.

Back in the day, the trial of the Cuban-American Menendez brothers captured the attention of the nation.

The crime was incredibly unusual. Not only was it uncommon for two children to team up on the murder of both their parents, but the Menendez brothers seemingly had it all. The Menendez family was extremely wealthy and the boys were incredibly privileged–Lyle even attended Princeton University before he was suspended for plagiarism.

On August 20, 1989, a hysterical Lyle Hernandez called 911, claiming his parents had been murdered in their Beverly Hills home. When police arrived at the scene, they found José and Kitty Menéndez dead. José had been shot five times, while Kitty had been shot 10 times.

At first, 21-year-old Lyle and and 18-year-old Erik played the roles of grieving sons perfectly, so police didn’t suspect them.

But soon, the boys’ facades began to unravel. In the months following their parents’ vicious murders, Erik and Lyle began to spend their late parents’ fortune with abandon, buying luxury purchases like expenses watches and private tennis lessons.

The lavish spending provided police with an otherwise-absent motive and they began to investigate the brothers for their parents’ murders. In March of 1990, both brothers were arrested for the murder of their parents.

The two brothers claimed that they had been tortured by years of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their parents. The subsequent trial became a media sensation–America was fascinated by these rich, seemingly innocent young men who murdered their parents in cold blood. After a long and drawn-out trial, the brothers were sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in July of 1996. They have been serving out their sentences ever since.

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