Annually, 11 million people pass through our jails, producing a daily incarcerated population of 2.2 million people. And with those figures, the U.S. has the dubious distinction of being the world’s leading incarcerator. We have only 4% of the world’s population, but 22% of the world’s incarcerated population. However, some have come to view incarceration as an opportunity, looking for their cut of the $80 billion industry.
Today, the U.S. has the most privatized criminal legal system in the world. From commercial bail to private prisons, we have allowed profit-motives to invade every step of our “justice” system. The prison industrial complex is now so broad that actors are often hard to identify in our investment portfolios. Moreover, through subsidiaries, major corporations attempt to obscure their connection to the dark world of mass incarceration. Still, publicly traded companies serve maggot-invested food inside prison mess halls, price gauge low-income families trying to call their incarcerated loved ones, and provide subpar mental health in prison medical units.
In this workshop, Bianca Tylek, Director of the Corrections Accountability Project at the Urban Justice Center, will help participants understand where their portfolios may be exposed to the prison industrial complex. She’ll also introduce a new tool that asset managers can use to screen portfolios. After a 30-45min presentation, participants will break into groups led by colleagues in the impact investing space to reflect on their investment screens with respect to mass incarceration. We’ll regroup to share final takeaways and answer additional questions. Hang out after the event to grab a drink with other participants and our speaker!
This workshop is being hosted by Boston Area Sustainable Investment Consortium (BASIC) as part of their regular series for impact investors in the Boston area. BASIC connects the community of sustainable, responsible, and impact investment (SRI) professionals in the greater Boston area through educational programs and social networking opportunities. Special thanks to Zevin Asset Management for providing space for the event.