Sign the petition: Demand state and federal lawmakers end the use of private prisons and protect incarcerated people from COVID-19.

federal and state lawmakers

Since 1970, the U.S. prison population has increased by a whopping 700% with 2.3 million people incarcerated across the country. And in the wake of the highly contagious coronavirus, incarcerating even more people is both unconscionable and irresponsible.

With Black people comprising only 13% of the total U.S. population, but close to 40% of the total U.S. prison population, plus the expansion of private prisons and immigration detention, the prison industrial complex depends on local and state police departments and federal law enforcement agencies targeting Black and Brown communities. And corporations then turn a profit from incarcerating our community members.

Two of the largest private prison profiteers, GEO Group and CoreCivic, Inc., are making money exploiting the pain of Black and Brown people, and our government is using our tax dollars to bankroll them. More and more of our community members are falling prey to the vicious prison industrial complex due to Trump's anti-Black and anti-immigrant agenda.

Federal and state lawmakers are pouring money into private prisons, even as they fight to strip funding for our health care, rural schools, and social services. Private prison facilities are notorious for overcrowding, medical negligence, inhumane living conditions, and physical and sexual abuse of inmates. With several prisons now reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, the conditions in these prisons not only violate human rights, but pose major public health risks for inmates and staff -- and our lawmakers would rather prisons than invest into our communities. Now is especially not the time for corporations to profit from incarceration.

Fortunately, human rights activists have seen big wins with major banks like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo committing to end financing of the private prison industry. Lawmakers in several states like California, Nevada, and Illinois have banned private prisons, and some courts are ordering release of inmates from detention centers in the wake of the coronavirus. But, we need to put pressure on all states and the federal government until private jails and prisons are a thing of the past and all incarcerated people afforded protections in the wake of COVID-19.

Sign the petition: Demand our state and federal lawmakers commit to ending the use of private prisons and protect incarcerated people as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Participating Organizations:
Action Center on Race & the Economy
American Friends Service Committee
Corporate Accountability
Daily Kos
Fund Her
Jobs With Justice
MPower Change
National Domestic Workers Alliance
United We Dream

To: federal and state lawmakers
From: [Your Name]

As the coronavirus rapidly spreads across the country and incarcerated people face unsafe health conditions like overcrowding, substandard medical care, and sanitation, private prison operators like GEO Group and CoreCivic are turning a profit off the pain and suffering of heavily policed Black and Brown communities.

That is why I, your constituent, am asking you to:
(1) use all available powers, including the powers of clemency, furlough, parole, and humanitarian release to release incarcerated people who do not pose a risk to public safety;
(2) guarantee safe conditions including providing healthcare and testing, and to protect those in detention and prisons; and
(3) commit to end the use of private prisons.