Monday, April 19, 2021

Contact: Nancy Treviño | (786) 201-8958 |



Warn other potential financiers to refuse the bond and stop financing mass incarceration


(New York, NY; April 19, 2021) Days after a group of impact investors, business leaders, and social justice advocates called on global investors to refuse to purchase a $630 million taxable municipal bond offering by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) through the Wisconsin Public Finance Authority, Barclays, who was leading the financing, along with KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. announced they were pulling out of the deal, while CoreCivic and the state of Alabama vow to move forward with the project. We call on the Wisconsin Public Finance Authority to make an affirmative commitment to pull out of this deal as well.

The deal drew criticism because proceeds from the deal would have been used to build two prison facilities. CoreCivic, the private prison firm, with a very long and troubled human rights history, would be the builder and owner of the facilities and ADOC, itself with a checkered history of prison management, would be operator of the prisons.

Business Leaders and Investors are encouraged Barclays pulled out of the deal and stuck to their original commitment.

“We applaud Barclays Bank’s decision to not underwrite the Alabama private prison bonds. We invite Barclay’s and all other financial institutions to sit down with us so we can chart a responsible and beneficial path forward for investing and rebuilding our communities, and our economy. The American Sustainable Business Council and Social Venture Circle and our businesses and investors will continue to speak out on injustice as we work towards solutions,” says David Levine, President American Sustainable Business Council.

Investors invite Barclays and the state to work with the community to invest toward more effective forms of public health, safety, and infrastructure that create economic prosperity.

“We welcome discussions with Barclays and other institutions on how they can align their investments with Decarceration to become a part of the solution– $630M would go a long way in Black, Brown, Indigenous and systems impacted communities most in need to build a healthy, thriving infrastructure that unlocks shared economic prosperity,” shared Christina Hollenback, Founding Partner, Justice Capital and one of the investor organizers.

Advocates and investors warn other banks not to go back on their word.

“CoreCivic and Governor Kay Ivey seem committed to being Alabama’s modern-day Bull Connor, attempting to block progress while propelling human rights violations, for profit and political gain,” said Matt Nelson, Executive Director of “Because of tremendous public pressure, Barclays and other financial entities came to their senses and will honor their commitment to stop financing private prisons. The private prison industry is toxic to governments, finance, and the public at large. With our allies across the country, we’ll keep pushing for all institutions involved in this deal, including Wisconsin’s Public Finance Authority, to ensure no private prisons are built on Alabama’s soil.”

“We commend Barclays for making the correct decision for human rights, however, we know there are other banks across the globe who are indifferent to the suffering of Black and poor Alabamians. Our message to those who would seek to profit off of the exploitation of our people is this: the indefatigable perseverance of activists and conscientious investors will continue to bring your sinister dealings to light. Any institution that would seek to replace Barclays will be held accountable” – Communities Not Prisons, Alabama

Bianca Tylek, Executive Director of Worth Rises said, ““Last week, we supported local organizers in forcing Barclays to delay its new prison bond deal; today, we are pleased to see that the bond deal is dead altogether. We wish Barclays had honored its commitment to stop financing prisons from the start, but it’s never too late to do the right thing. No one should be allowed to profit from the incarceration of our communities. The bank thought it could get away with orchestrating this deal under the radar using financial engineering, but advocates caught on quickly and sounded an alarm to successfully hold them accountable. We’re glad to see Keybanc has followed suit and hope Stifel, the last banker in the deal, will as well. Today’s victory is a testament to the vigilance of the movement and power of organizing, both are here to stay should anyone else want to swoop in to help the ADOC and CoreCivic build new carceral structures in Alabama.”

“In the wake of public outrage over the role of private prisons in family separation, immigrant detention and mass incarceration, Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, SunTrust, Fifth Third Bank, PNC and Regions Bank made commitments to stop providing financing to the private prison industry. If these banks want to retain the public’s trust, they need to honor the spirit of these commitments and not pursue backdoors to keep supporting companies with clear track records of human rights abuses.” said Morgan Simon, Founding Partner of Candide Group.

“We continue to urge banks and investors to refuse to purchase any similar securities going forward whose purpose is to perpetuate mass incarceration. We encourage expanding investment in solutions that repair the harm done in Black, Brown, Indigenous and systems impacted communities.” says Sonia Kowal, President, Zevin Asset Management.

“Financial activism works. I believe now more than ever we’re seeing investors acknowledge how unwise it is to not assess risk and return based on the social, political, and reputational implications of deals like this on society. For more esoteric, financially-engineered deal structures, it’s our job to make clear that financing toxic prisons and immigrant detention centers through vehicles like muni bonds and index funds is still financing toxic prisons and immigrant detention centers, period” concludes Jasmine Rashid, Co-Founder, Real Money Moves.

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