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Rally against for-profit prisons in Denver

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Colorado WINS is leading a rally on June 20, 2013, at 12:30 p.m. in front of the Colorado Capitol Building. The rally is seeking to urge policymakers to break their dependency on the for-profit prison industry. The rally coincides with the Joint Budget Committee’s release of the results of the Prison Utilization Study. The Colorado Progressive Coalition (CPC) who is supporting the rally stated in a press release, “tell Wells Fargo to end their use of mutual funds and bonds to support for-profit prisons. Not only are for profit prisons a drain on our economy, but the companies lobby in Congress against our common values. As one of the largest holders of private prison debt, Wells Fargo has a responsibility to divest and restructure its investments away from private prisons that cripple our economy along with worker, immigrant and civil rights.”

CPC went on to explain that Wells Fargo was “among the largest investors of GEO Group, Inc. and CCA (Corrections Corporation of America), two giant private prisons that specialize in detention and deportation. Since the late 1990’s, the number of people held in immigration detention has exploded. On any given day, ICE detains over 33,000 immigrants; this is more than triple the number of people detained in 1996. In the last 5 years alone, the annual number of immigrants detained and the costs of detaining them has doubled: in 2009, 383,524 immigrants were detained, costing taxpayers $1.7 billion at an average of $122 a day per bed. Nearly 2.5 million individuals have passed through immigration detention facilities since 2003.”

Timothy R. Markham from Colorado WINS stated in a report titled “Imprisoned By Profit” that “Colorado began utilizing for-profit prisons at a time when the state lacked capacity to keep up with rising inmate populations. As Colorado’s prison population has declined the pressures upon the state system have been relieved.” In the past two years Colorado has lost 1457 state-run beds for inmates compared to 272 loss of beds for for-profit prisons.

The rally will also be supported by Colorado Jobs with Justice and Rights for All People (RAP). RAP advocates for progressive immigration reform and will be holding a cultural celebration on Saturday June 22, 2013 at 1400 Dayton St. in Aurora, Colo.

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