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Education is not a tradable good

Among different type of private actors involved in education, commercial schools raise specific challenges. Commercial schools have been defined as schools “whose one of the main objectives (though not necessarily unique) is to develop commercial activities out of education services and to defend their own interest to the detriment of the general interest. They consider education as a tradable good, which involves in particular that they intend to extend their activities and model by entering in competition with other education establishments, to increase their turnover, and to increase their profit.” The following page is meant as a monitoring resource page to critically reflect on the development of this type of schools against human rights standards.

Taking back control

Governments must ensure that they act in the best interest of their communities by providing quality public services. The provision of essential services should be their highest priority. Privatisation should only be considered if it has been demonstrated to be in the best interest of communities and the best use of taxpayer funding.

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PSI Calls for Divestment from the Private Prison Industry

Public pension funds and sovereign wealth funds across the globe have tens of millions of dollars invested in private prison companies, including directly-owned shares and exposure through other investments like indexes and hedge funds.

Public pension funds and sovereign wealth funds across the globe have tens of millions of dollars invested in private prison companies, including directly-owned shares and exposure through other investments like indexes and hedge funds.

Given the many risks to investors posed by the abuses of the private prison industry, PSI is calling on public pension funds across the globe to examine the exposure of public employee’s retirement savings to the private prison industry.

Specifically, we call on public pension and sovereign wealth funds to:

  1. Review the fund’s investment portfolios for direct and indirect exposure to private prison and corrections companies.
  2. Engage with private prison companies in the investment portfolio, including filing or supporting shareholder proposals to demand that they adopt policies to ensure the human rights of detainees and the safety of workers. 
  3. Evaluate the impact to the fund of divesting from the private prison industry, and consider divesting from directly and indirectly owned shares.
  4. Adopt investment principles or other policies that restrict investments in the private prisons industry, and consider having these apply to companies involved in human rights abuses more broadly.
  5. Adopt investment policies prohibiting investments in firms that privatize public sector jobs.
  6. Support legislation requiring greater regulation of private prison companies, and/or legislation banning the privatization of correctional services.

STATEMENT

How will this help? ?

Call for divestment from the private prison Industry and the adoption of policies ensuring the human rights of detainees and the safety of workers.

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Recently, a number of public pension and sovereign wealth funds, in recognition of the significant investment risks, have chosen to divest from the private prison industry:

  • In 2015, three Australian pension funds divested their ownership in Transfield, a private company that runs offshore immigrant detention centers.
  • A number of U.S. public pension funds have divested from directly-owned shares in private prison companies since 2017, including three of the four largest pension schemes in the country.
  • The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Norway’s Oljefondet, divested from Australian private immigrant detention company Broadfield due to human rights concerns.
  • In 2008, KLP, a Norwegian municipal pension fund, divested from private prison company G4S; in 2014, Norway’s Oljefondet also sold its shares in the company.
  • Lawmakers in Canada have raised concerns regarding the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s decision to increase its ownership of two private prison companies that profit from the U.S. policy of separating immigrant children from their families.

A recent report by the American Federation of Teachers outlined the considerable investment risks associated with for-profit prisons, stating:

“[B]ecause private prison companies do not have to respond to [public information requests], it is difficult for investors—and the public—to access clear information regarding conditions and possible abuses… Perhaps because the private prison industry has a record of abuses, a few states…have passed legislation banning private prisons, and under the Obama administration the Department of Justice announced that it would stop housing federal inmates in private prisons—a decision that was reversed in 2017 by the Trump administration. It is precisely this vulnerability to political changes that makes investments in the industry risky.”

NEWS (2)

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Privatising prisons not an option: Greens

Privatising prisons will cost local jobs, says Greens candidate for Cowper Carol Vernon. “Private companies make profits by cutting staff,” Ms Vernon said. “Cutting the quality and integrity of our prisons through privatisation and contracting out will not fix chronic overcrowding in the state’s prisons.”

RESEARCH (2)

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