The prison industrial complex (PIC) is the intricate network of companies and investors profiting from America’s broken incarceration system and the millions of incarcerated Americans it exploits, as well as the legislators and governmental systems that enable them. While many people are familiar with private prisons, who profit per prisoner (while the American taxpayer foots the often extortionate bill), the complex extends to other players: companies who sell goods and services at exorbitant prices to incarcerated people and companies who pay extremely low (or no) wages for prison labor. Operators, prison labor companies, and goods providers all throw millions of dollars at lobbyists, who make exploiting the incarcerated easier – and more profitable. Backing the whole system are banks and financial institutions who invest billions in private prison operators and profiteers, but they’re not the only ones. How much of your savings and retirement accounts are invested in the Prison Industrial Complex?
This screen works both negatively and positively and is built from a variety of expert data sources. We used the American Friends Service Committee divestment list to screen out companies profiting from imprisonment and prison labor. We used In the Public Interest’s (a pro-democracy nonprofit) research to screen out the banks who have the most money invested in private prisons. Lastly, we used the ALEC leadership page to screen out companies contributing the most to pro-incarceration lobbying. However, we screened in companies who signed the Obama administration’s Fair Chance Business Pledge to invest in and employ individuals with criminal records.