Imagine a world…
…without inequality without wars without prisons
without borders without carbon emissions
Imagine a world without MoMA without Black Rock
MOMA board member Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, is the 2nd largest owner of prison companies GEO Group and Core Civic, which have over $2 billion in contracts with ICE.
These companies are responsible for over 70% of all immigration detention including families separated at the border.
BlackRock is also heavily invested in weapons manufacturing and fossil fuel extraction.
We demand that as a civic institution Moma issue a clear public statement regarding their position on prisons and mass incarceration, migration and detention, war and weapons manufacturing, fossil fuel companies, extractivism and climate change…
We demand that MoMA issue a public statement regarding their position on proceeds and donations that come as a result of violence from these issues, and start a transparent public investigation into any and all funds linked to these issues, including in the various pension funds used by the institution
We demand that MoMA ask its board member Larry Fink and his company BlackRock to begin a divestment process or leave the board. The process would start with divestment from the prison companies, Core Civic and Geo Group
MOMA is a civic organization in New York City. MOMA has civic responsibilities.
This is a divestment campaign. Divestment as a strategy has worked in the past. Allies have run successful divestment campaigns in several states, with universities and municipal pensions divesting from private prisons. And other campaigns against banks that fund these companies are underway. In fact, as a result of the campaigns, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo just announced they won’t finance private prisons anymore! It can be done. It should be done.
#Stopartwashing — sign here to demand divestment
More immigrants are dying in detention.[i]
Private prisons are responsible for deaths in custody with no accountability.[ii]
Private prisons operate in the shadows, effectively free from public scrutiny, because their records are exempt from the open records laws that apply to other federal prisons.[iii]
As a result, every ICE facility has passed every inspection since 2012, even those where multiple people have died.[iv]
Human-rights abuses within the immigration detention system disproportionately occur in private prisons, by forcing detainees to work without pay and threatening them with solitary confinement if they refused. For example, in a March 2018 report on abuses against African detainees at the West Texas Detention Facility documents excessive use of force as punishment, unsafe and unsanitary conditions, and denial of religious accommodation, among other concerns.[v]
The ACLU reports that prisoners as subjected to shocking abuse and mistreatment, and discriminated against by policies that impede family contact[vi] and exclude them from rehabilitative programs. Medical understaffing and extreme cost-cutting measures limit prisoners’ access to both emergency and routine medical care.[vii] Studies of private prisons also expose that they purposefully imprison a disproportionate number of people of color in their state facilities.[viii]
Even the Justice Department itself once concluded that private prisons were in general more violent than government-operated institutions, and ordered a phaseout of their use at the federal level.[ix]
Remember that immigration offenses are civil offenses that are being increasingly criminalized. Private prison companies lobby for harsher immigration legislation and more punitive regimes.[x] Private prisons are a key driver of the expansion of the prison industrial complex, both public and private.
Private prison inmates and detainees serve longer sentences and receive twice as many infractions, which help keep them in prisons.[xi] As a stipulation in their contracts for individual prisons, CCA and GEO typically require 90% or more of prison beds to be filled. These contract clauses and the millions CCA and GEO spend on lobbying and campaign contributions ensure that state and federal governments work for them to create more criminals and detainable immigrants.[xii]
CCA and GEO Group, the nation’s largest private prison corporations, earn billions each year from imprisoning people (GEO Group $2.26 and CCA $1.7 billion in 2017).
Every day a prison bed is occupied means a day of profit for private companies.
[i] The Nation, “More Immigrants Died in Detention in Fiscal Year 2017 Than in Any Year Since 2009,” available at https://www.thenation.com/article/immigrants-died-detention-fiscal-year-2017-year-since-2009/
[ii] NPR, Big Money As Private Immigrant Jails Boom, available at https://www.npr.org/2017/11/21/565318778/big-money-as-private-immigrant-jails-boom
[iii] ACLU, “Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison System,” June 2014, available at https://www.aclu.org/other/warehoused-and-forgotten-immigrants-trapped-our-shadow-private-prison-system
[iv] Tara Tidwell Cullen, “ICE Released Its Most Comprehensive Immigration Data Yet. It’s Alarming,” National Immigrant Justice Center, March 13, 2018, available at https://immigrantjustice.org/staff/blog/ice-released-its-most-comprehensive-immigration-detention-data-yet
[v] Migration Policy, “Profiting from Enforcement: The Role of Private Prisons in U.S. Immigration Detention,” available at
[vi] Also see Caitlin Patler and Nicholas Branic, “Patterns of Family Visitation During Immigration Detention” available at
[vii] ACLU, “Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison System,” June 2014, available at https://www.aclu.org/other/warehoused-and-forgotten-immigrants-trapped-our-shadow-private-prison-system
[viii] Freedom Cities, Prison Divestment to Build Freedom Cities: A toolkit, available at http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/3e7183_d0ddb3de84e84f94b218b5a9bf7653bf.pdf
[ix] The New York Times, “U.S. to Phase Out Use of Private Prisons for Federal Inmates,” Aug. 18, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/19/us/us-to-phase-out-use-of-private-prisons-for-federal-inmates.html?module=inline
[x] Loren Collingwood, Jason L. Morin, Stephen Omar El-Khatib. “Expanding Carceral Markets: Detention Facilities, ICE Contracts, and the Financial Interests of Punitive Immigration Policy” available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12552-018-9241-5
[xi] Mukherjee, Anita, Impacts of Private Prison Contracting on Inmate Time Served and Recidivism (August 20, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2523238 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2523238
[xii] Freedom Cities, Prison Divestment to Build Freedom Cities: A toolkit, available at http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/3e7183_d0ddb3de84e84f94b218b5a9bf7653bf.pdf