Say No to Prison Privatization

National Call-in Day Wednesday, April 18, 2012

By Laura Markle Downton, UMC National Coordinator for Restorative Justice

photo of prison cellOn Wednesday, April 18, in partnership with the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, join with people of faith for the National Call-in Day to our state governors to say No to Prison Privatization!

On Wednesday, April 18, join us by calling your governor with the clear message that people of faith say “no” to profit from the incarceration of our sisters and brothers.

“Governor, as a Christian, I am calling to ask you for a public commitment by June 1st to reject CCA’s recent offer to privatize prisons in our state. Profiting from the incarceration of others directly contradicts United Methodist/Presbyterian/UCC [fill in your denomination] stances on restorative justice and biblical teaching. As a person of faith, I believe no one should profit from the incarceration of human beings.”

Two ways to call in on Wednesday, April 18:

  1. Call in from your phone using the numbers below.
  2. Call in from the Web, using the “mobile connect” form, by entering in your phone number and zip code. Get a reminder email/text on April 18.

The private-prison industry is fast growing with the two largest companies, Corrections Corp. of America and GEO Group, posting profits of $2.9 billion by the end of 2010. Private prison corporations actively lobby for laws that incentivize filling prisons to increase their own profits at the expense of our communities.

Private prisons are also responsible for neglect and abuse in prisons and directly contradict United Methodist, Presbyterian, and other denominational stances on restorative justice and biblical teaching. In January, the United Methodist Board of Pension & Health Benefits announced its decision to divest and prohibit investments in private prisons. According to David Zellner, the board’s chief investment officer, “It came down to that profiting from the incarceration of others was just not consistent with our view of what the [denomination’s] Social Principles ask for.”

As far back as 2003, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly called for the abolition of private prisons. On March 1, 2012, the newly formed Presbyterian Criminal Justice Network hand-delivered let­ters to their gov­er­nors, say­ing no to pri­vate pris­ons: not in our state, not any­where.

Correction Corp. of America recently sent a letter to 48 U.S. governors announcing its “Investment Initiative” to spend up to $250 million to buy prisons from state, local and federal governments. The “initiative” requires states to commit to a minimum of 20 years for the facility, maintaining 90% capacity over the 20-year period. We, as Christians, believe that profiting from private prisons, earning profit from the incarceration of our sisters and brothers, is incompatible with biblical teaching.

To that end, join with our colleagues at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and all people of faith in urging our state governors to publicly commit to decline CCA’s offer to buy up and privatize state prisons.

Your state’s governor can be contacted by calling:

  • Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii, (808) 586-0034
  • Mike Beebe, Arkansas, (501) 682-2345
  • Robert Bentley, Alabama, (334) 242-7100
  • Steven L. Beshear, Kentucky, (502) 564-2611
  • Terry Branstad, Iowa, (515) 281.5211
  • Jan Brewer, Arizona, (602) 542-4331
  • Jerry Brown, California, (916) 445-2841
  • Sam Brownback, Kansas, (877) 579-6757
  • Phil Bryant, Mississippi, (601) 359-3150
  • Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island, (401) 222-2080
  • Chris Christie, New Jersey, (609) 292-6000
  • Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania, (717) 787-2500
  • Andrew Cuomo, New York, (518) 474-8390
  • Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota, (701) 328-2200
  • Mitch Daniels, Indiana, (317) 232-4567
  • Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota, (605) 773-3212
  • Mark Dayton, Minnesota, (800) 657-3717
  • Nathan Deal, Georgia, (404) 656-1776
  • Mary Fallin, Oklahoma, (405) 521-2342
  • Chris Gregoire, Washington, (360) 902-4111
  • Nikki R. Haley, South Carolina, (803) 734-2100
  • Bill Haslam, Tennessee, (615) 741-2001
  • Dave Heineman, Nebraska, (402) 471-2244
  • Gary R. Herbert, Utah, (801) 538-1000
  • John Hickenlooper, Colorado, (303) 866-2471
  • Bobby Jindal, Louisiana, (225) 342-7015
  • John Kasich, Ohio, (614) 466-3555
  • John Kitzhaber, Oregon, (503) 378-4582
  • Paul Lepage, Maine, (207) 287-3531
  • John Lynch, New Hampshire, (603) 271-2121
  • Dan Malloy, Connecticut, (860) 566-4840
  • Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota, (701) 328-2200
  • Susana Martinez, New Mexico, (505) 476-2200
  • Bob McDonnell, Virginia, (804) 786-2211
  • Matthew Mead, Wyoming, (307) 777-7434
  • Jeremiah W. Nixon, Missouri, (573) 751-3222
  • Martin O’Malley, Maryland, (410) 974-3901
  • C.L Otter, Idaho, (208) 334-2100
  • Sean Parnell, Alaska, (907) 465-3500
  • Deval Patrick, Massachusetts, (413) 784-1200
  • Beverly Perdue, N. Carolina, (919) 733-2391
  • Rick Perry, Texas, (512) 463-2000
  • Pat Quinn, Illinois, (217) 782-0244
  • Brain Sandoval, Nevada, (775) 684-5670
  • Brain Schweitzer, Montana, (406) 444-3111
  • Rick Scott, Florida, (850) 488-7146
  • Peter Shumlin, Vermont, (802) 828-3333
  • Rick Synder, Michigan, (517) 373-3400
  • Earl Ray Tomblin, W. Virginia, (304) 558-2000
  • Scott Walker, Wisconsin, (608) 266-1212

Thank you for your bold witness. If you are interested in getting more involved in follow-up action after the call-in day, send an email to [email protected] to learn more.

photo of inmate's hands reaching out of prison bars and holding BibleFor Further Study and Action

  • To Be Free At Last: A movement of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, committed to nurture, sustain, and mobilize the African American faith community.
  • Justice Policy Institute’s Gaming the System: How the Political Strategies of Private Prison Companies Promote Ineffective Incarceration Policies


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