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Numerous Religious Groups Condemn Prison Privatization


What do the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, the Mennonite Central Committee, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and the United Church of Christ all have in common?

They agree that private prisons are a very, very bad idea.

The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), headquartered in Tennessee, is the nation’s oldest and largest private prison corporation.  CCA runs over 60 facilities nationwide, including six in Tennessee.  More information on the problems with CCA can be found here.

For decades, religious groups have condemned prison privatization—and specifically denounced CCA—because of the inherent conflict between the justice system’s goal of rehabilitation and private prison corporations’ profit motive.

With a business model is fueled by incarceration, CCA and other private prisons have limited incentives to rehabilitate prisoners or reduce future crime, standing only to profit from increased incarceration and recidivism rates.

Leadership groups from a wide range of faiths have raised their voices against prison privatization and CCA:

Catholic Bishops Resolution (2000): “We bishops question whether private, for-profit corporations can effectively run prisons. The profit motive may lead to reduced efforts to change behaviors, treat substance abuse, and offer skills necessary for reintegration into the community.”

Presbyterian Church USA (2003): “Since the goal of for-profit private prisons is earning a profit for their shareholders, there is a basic and fundamental conflict with the concept of rehabilitation as the ultimate goal of the prison system. We believe that this is a glaring and significant flaw in our justice system and that for-profit private prisons should be abolished.”

United Methodist Church (2000): “The United Methodist Church declares its opposition to the privatization of prisons and jails and to profit making from the punishment of human beings.”

Episcopal Diocese of Newark (2002): “The industry of warehousing prisoners in private prisons has presented a temptation to those who would profit from the punishment of human beings.” (link to Banking on Bondage, p. 30)

Read an appeal from the Presbyterian Health Education and Welfare Association to state leadership to refuse a partnership with CCA.

Read a letter signed by over 30 religious organizations urging state leaders to resist an offer by the nation’s largest private prison company to buy and privatize state prisons.

As numerous faith communities have indicated, crime is bad for our communities, but it’s good for companies like CCA’s bottom line.

Add your voice to the growing list of faith communities and people who know that private prisons like CCA are not good for Tennessee. Ask Governor Haslam to end Tennessee’s contracts with CCA.

Tell CCA that it’s time to get out of Tennessee.

 

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