Fwd: European Investment in US Prisons

radman resist at best.com
Mon Aug 14 19:22:42 PDT 2000

>For Immediate Release Friday, August 11, 2000
>Contact: Kevin Pranis, Not With Our Money: Students Stop Prisons-for Profit
>(646) 486-6715, (917) 860-4635, kpranis at nomoreprisons.org
>Olympia, WA. Students from Evergreen State College declared victory today
>in a two-month long struggle to keep a catering company tied to the
>for-profit private prison industry from taking over the school's food
>service contract. In July, administrators announced that the college was
>in final negotiations with Sodexho-Marriott Services (NYSE: SDH) over a
>7-10 year contract, however those negotiations broke down on Monday amid
>growing controversy and threats of a campus-wide boycott.
>Evergreen is just the latest in a series of confrontations between
>Sodexho-Marriott and college students, who claim that the company's
>violations of workers' rights and relationship with scandal-ridden
>Corrections Corporation of America make it an unfit provider of campus
>dining services. A May 30, 2000 analysis by Merrill Lynch identifies
>Sodexho-Marriott as the 48%-owned subsidiary of Paris-based Sodexho
>Alliance which is, in turn, the largest investor in prisons for profit
>through its 17% stake in CCA and 9% stake in sister company Prison Realty
>Trust (NYSE: PZN).
>A national campaign launched on April 4 by a group calling itself Not With
>Our Money has been followed by the resignation of CCA founder "Doc" Crantz
>from the Sodexho Marriott board of directors, and loss of a
>Sodexho-Marriott contract at the State University of New York at Albany,
>where a coalition of labor and prison activist staged a sit-in to protest
>mistreatment of workers, private prison investments and the schools use of
>sweatshops. According to organizers, the campaign has received broad
>support from students, and has recently been endorsed by the United States
>Student Association and the Canadian Federation of Students.
>Private prisons make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. prison and
>jail population, which will reach two million in the coming year according
>to a report by Justice Policy Institute. Reports of widespread abuse in
>facilities run by Corrections Corporation of America and Wackenhut
>Corrections, including guard brutality, denial of medical care and
>retention of prisoners beyond the time required by law, have led to calls
>for a ban on private prisons.
>Evergreen professor Peter Bohmer is convinced that student and faculty
>objections to the Sodexho-prison connection killed the contract. "A large
>part of the Evergreen faculty, students and staff at this college find it
>morally reprehensible to buy food from a corporation so closely connected
>to the use of prisoners for profit, and we made that clear in a major rally
>last week. This victory is 100% due to student organizing, and to
>administration and company fears of massive protests in the Fall."
>Senior Malka Fenyvesi concurs, "Students at Evergreen have a long history
>of standing up for social justice. We know it's people our age who are
>getting locked up in record numbers. We're not going to stand by while
>Sodexho tries to profit from their misery.
> ###
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>Now in Tower, Wherehouse, and Best Buy stores or online at amazon.com and
>Kevin Pranis
>Prison Moratorium Project
>c/o DSA
>180 Varick Street, 12th Floor
>New York, NY 10014
>(646) 486-6715
>(212) 727-8616 (fax)
>(917) 860-4635 (cell)
>kpranis at nomoreprisons.org

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