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CalSTRS begins review of holdings of private prison companies

Author: Randy Diamond, Chief Investment Officer - CIO, Published on: 23 July 2018

The chief investment officer of the second-largest US retirement plan, the $224 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), has ordered a review to determine if the pension organization should divest from the stock and bonds of two public companies that run private prisons... Ailman said he wanted to determine whether the prison companies were violating CalSTRS’s human rights risk factor, one of 21 risk factors adopted by the pension system’s board to guide investments...  Ailman said the human rights risk factor was more written for countries and not aimed at individual companies, calling the issue “complex.” The CIO’s comments come as the two largest private prison companies, Nashville, Tennessee-based CoreCivic Inc., and Boca Raton, Florida-based Geo Group, have come under increasing criticism from Democratic lawmakers and immigration rights groups about their housing of immigration detainees under the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown. Earlier this month, New Yok State Controller Thomas DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the $207 billion New York State Common Fund, ordered the third-largest US pension fund to divest its stock of CoreCivic and GEO Group. The New York City Pension Funds had divested of the two companies back in 2017...  Among the advocates at the July 20 meeting were several dozen teachers, including representatives of the Berkeley, California, school system and other school districts. They argued CoreCivic Inc and the GEO Group disregarded human rights and civil liberties. Both companies have denied they violate human rights.

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