Letter: Teachers, wake up
Educators, examine PERA’s investments of your retirement dollars. Are you aware your retirement fund, Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), is heavily invested in the GEO Group, which owns and manages 69 private prisons for profit including the infamous Aurora Detention Center, which confines about 1,000 immigrants and asylum seekers? Ask PERA to divest from the GEO Group and all private prisons.
These detainees aren’t criminals. Asylum seekers have come to this country to take refuge from political and criminal persecution, as they have a legal right to do. The most the undocumented immigrants are guilty of is entering the country illegally, a misdemeanor.
It’s important to remember the more people private prisons incarcerate, the more money the prison owners (Geo Group) make. The role of a public prison, like the Rifle Correctional Center, is to rehabilitate inmates so they can re-enter society. Detention centers like Aurora don’t provide rehabilitation services, just imprisonment.
A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigation uncovered violations of Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) standards for recreation, in-person visitation, and solitary confinement at Aurora. Inmates in solitary were put in handcuffs when let out of their cells, contrary to ICE rules.
The facility is in Rep. Jason Crow’s district. He discovered cases of the mumps and chicken pox there and promised a return visit. The situation has also caught the attention of Reps. Diane DeGette and Joe Neguse, who are objecting through official channels.
We all know how socially conscious teachers are and we thank you for your public service. Tell PERA to divest from the GEO Group, a company that preys on the misery of others by running private prisons.
PERA may tell you it’ll need permission from the state Legislature to divest, so refer to Sen. Bob Rankin (Dist. 8), Rep. Perry Will (Dist. 57), Sen. Kerry Donavan (Dist. 5) or Rep. Julie McCluskie (Dist. 61). Contact your American Federation of Teachers representative, inform them of the situation, and request they persuade PERA to divest. Keep your retirement money in ethical investments.
Prison Divest; Roaring Fork
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