Yesha Callahan

University of California School System Has Invested Millions Into Private Prisons

A Black public interest group has confirmed that the University of California school system has upwards of $25,000,000 invested into private prisons.

According to the Afrikan Black Coalition, the University of California’s Chief Investment Officer that the University of California (“UC”) has investments split between both Corrections Corporation of America (“CCA”), “America’s Leader in Partnership Corrections” and The Geo Group, “the world’s leading provider of correctional and detention management,” according to their websites. The organization also confirmed that UC system has a startling $425 million invested in Wells Fargo, one of the largest financiers of private prisons.

From Afrikan Black Coalition:

So what does this mean, exactly? Well on a purely technical level, the UC system is an indirect investor in private prisons through mutual funds–managed by outside  investment bankers–to the tune of $25,000,000. In plain English, this means that the UC System is helping to fund the prison industrial complex’s mission of prioritizing profit over people; the UC has blood on their hands. Private prison corporations exist to build centers of white supremacist dehumanization, turning Black, brown, and immigrant bodies into a profit under the guise of rehabilitation. This profit is the result of anti-Black overcriminalization in the streets, inhumane conditions within the private prison themselves, and a legacy of legal and political disenfranchisement after release. In 2010 there were 2.3 million prisoners in the U.S. and we must ask: why is the state’s leading system of higher education funding such an immoral system? Why is the UC actively fueling the racist criminal justice system while publicly aiming for more “diversity” within their own campuses? Any contribution to the for-profit private prison industry is a direct and unethical approval in further  dehumanizing Black, brown, and immigrant people for capitalistic gains. Afrikan Black Coalition Political Director Yoel Haile writes:

“It is an ethical embarrassment and a clear disregard for Black and immigrant lives for the UC to be investing tens and hundreds millions of dollars in private prisons and their financiers. In the age of mass incarceration and Black Lives Matter, the UC should be leading the fight for social justice and ethical investing as opposed to bankrolling the inhuman mass incarceration regime that has gripped America.”

ABC Field Organizer Kamilah Moore stated, “the goals of the private prison industry, which are to profit from the incarceration, labor, and rehabilitative treatment of black and immigrant lives, and the UC’s mission, which is to teaching, research, and public service, are fundamentally incompatible.”

And that is definitely an issue. How are you going to pride yourself on being a progressive institution, but then invest in a system that has dealt a blow to minorities, particularly black people?

One has to wonder how the UC system will attempt to justify this.

  1. December 2, 2015 - Reply

    Great article. While the general public is more concerned with social media, reality tv and the latest gossip on TMZ, the UC as well as foreign investment groups, are quietly cashing in on the Prison industrial Complex.
    We have a publicly funded University system of education involved in the incarceration business! I commend the ABC members for shining light on this issue and hope to see the BLM unite with the black students within the UC system.

    Also, according to the Guardian, 14 people have been killed in a mass shooting in San Bernardino CA.

  2. December 2, 2015 - Reply

    Another great article from Clutch.

    One of the ways to expose the forces of oppression is to follow the money trial. For one university to explicitly fund private prisons for profit is truly an injustice. The system of mass incarceration has been damaging to black people, other people of color, and immigrants. The Afrikan Black Coalition should be given great credit in exposing this facet of the prison industrial complex (which is based on the economic and social exploitation of human beings explicitly for the betterment of rich capitalists). Many of these private prisons have ruined the lives of so many people and we wholeheartedly believe in social justice.

    • December 2, 2015 - Reply

      It is amazing how much of this information is coming to light. It has been common knowledge that much of these prisons has basically been run as “for-profit” businesses. However, now we know that some of these same “institutions” that are supposed to be for “diversity initiatives” are behind the curtain themselves. Also, UC Berkeley has had controversy with the number of Black students they were willing to admit. After California’s passage of proposition 209, I hope this information gets more exposure.

      • December 2, 2015 - Reply


        Yes, sometimes it will take years for the real truth to be accessible to the wider public. In many of those prisons, prisoners are paid pennies and dimes for work. You have made an excellent point of connecting the anti-affirmative actions measures to universities who fund the prison industrial complex. It shows that some people don’t want us to be educated, but they desire our people to experience the hell found in prisons in general (which is a cruel double talk on the part of the corporate establishment). Even when I was a child, I knew that Proposition 209 was bad news. Also, I read that Brazil has a much stronger affirmative action program for Afro-Brazilians than in some areas of America.

  3. December 3, 2015 - Reply

    Kudos for this information.

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