ABHMS commends JP Morgan Chase on commitment to stop private prison funding

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 4/30/19)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is among 105 Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) member organizations to sign a recent letter commending JP Morgan Chase on its newly announced public commitment to stop financing private prisons. Sent earlier this month, the letter also encourages the financial institution to disclose next steps for implementing the commitment.

The investor organizations have been engaging the financial institution on this issue for more than a year. In fact, ABHMS was a signatory on a previous letter that was sent to JP Morgan Chase in 2017. The communication cited human rights risks from the growing number of government contracts to detain immigrants under the current U.S. administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Concerns were raised specifically about GEO Group and Core Civic, corporations that operate private prisons and immigration detention centers, in which documented human rights violations have involved healthcare, security and allegations of forced labor.

ABHMS and other ICCR members maintain that corporations have a responsibility to respect the rights of immigrants and refugees, whether through direct business activities or—in the case of banks financing private prison companies—through business relationships.

“ABHMS applauds JP Morgan Chase for vowing to cease underwriting the prison industry,” says David L. Moore Jr., CFA, ABHMS director of investments. “This commitment is a great example of the power of tenacious faith-based investors to influence corporate policy. We will continue to monitor JP Morgan Chase to ensure that the bank withdraws financing to prisons, as it has promised to do.”

Celebrating its 49th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Its 300 member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, nongovernmental organizations and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of over $400 billion. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually in an effort to foster greater corporate accountability.

ABHMS is a founding member of ICCR.

For more information about ABHMS’ socially responsible investing practices, visit abhms.org > Ministries & Programs > Socially Responsible Investing.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

 American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.