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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, it is clear that the prison industrial complex depends on the police state and ICE targeting Black and Brown communities and turning a profit from incarcerating them.

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, and our lawmakers would rather fund them than invest into our communities. With several prisons now reporting confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), 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. We must hold them accountable.

Fortunately, human rights activists have seen big wins with major banks like JPMorgan Chase divesting from the private prison industry. Lawmakers in several states like California, Colorado, and Ohio have addressed the serious harms private prisons are causing, have dropped contracts with GEO Group and CoreCivic, and are releasing 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.

Sign the petition: Demand our state and federal lawmakers drop contracts with private prison profiteers GEO Group and CoreCivic.