The New York City’s five pensions become the first retirement funds in the U.S. to divest from private prisons last week. Spurred on by years long efforts by activists and NYC trustee and Public Advocate Tish James, the pension funds, with a value of $175 billion, cut their ties with notorious private prison companies  GEO Group Inc., CoreCivic Inc. and G4S Plc. An ever increasing number of scandals involving private prisons including allegations of corruption, abuse, bribery have emerged in recent years.

On top of running prisons, G4S also ran security for Energy Transfer Partners, the builder of the Dakota Access Pipeline, involved in the brutal treatment of peaceful water protectors.

Commenting on the announcement, James noted: “It is time we put our money where our morals are. For years, we have been working to support and protect the pensions of hardworking New Yorkers by investing in areas that are both financially and ethically sound – criteria that investments in private prisons no longer meet. Today, we are following through on our fiduciary responsibility and our values by divesting from an industry that hurts our City and our Country.”

Taking this morally and responsible action is commendable and sends a signal to other pension funds and institutions to follow NY’s lead, which is exactly what we need NY to do on fossil fuels too.

“We are standing up for what’s right,” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said about private prison divestment.

The next right thing to do is move on freezing new investments in fossil fuel companies, cut ties from the likes of climate criminal ExxonMobil and start reinvesting in NY communities and climate solutions companies that are creating good local jobs. As New Yorkers face federal rollbacks of environmental safeguards and climate action, and threats from continued extreme weather events, it’s more urgent than ever for NY to act and lead.

Congratulate and thank NY Public Advocate Tish James for spearheading the private prison divestment initiative. Retweet:

Call Comptroller Scott Stringer and ask him to act on fossil fuel divestment

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