The largest banking institution in the US. The bank has financed private prison companies like CoreCivic and GEO Group. Charges prisoners exorbitant rates for prison banking services.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a financial holding company headquartered in New York City that operates in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, and asset management. The company is the leading global financial services firm with $2.5 trillion in assets, 250,000 employees, and annual revenue of $99.62 billion in 2017.
In March 2019, JPMorgan Chase announced it would step away from financing private prison companies. JPMorgan has been part of a major syndicate of banks that acted over years as major investors and lenders for the two largest private prison and immigrant detention companies in the United States: CoreCivic, Inc. and The GEO Group. Private prison companies rely on banks and financing organizations to bankroll their operations and expansion. Banks offer CoreCivic and GEO billions in revolving credit limits, term loans, and bonds that enable them to expand their reach into carceral and correctional industries.
JP Morgan Chase has been one of six major investors for CoreCivic and GEO, along with Wells Fargo, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, SunTrust, and U.S. Bancorp. JP Morgan Chase has also been identified as one of 42 major investors that own over one million shares in CoreCivic and GEO, dubbed as “The Million Shares Club” and targeted by Freedom to Thrive. As of its 2018 filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, JPMorgan Chase owns 202, 953,903 shares in CoreCivic and 2,975,344 shares in GEO.
JPMorgan, along with other financial backers such as Wells Fargo and BlackRock, have financed or underwritten GEO Group and CoreCivic’s debts. Debts include credit facility loans, term loans, and bonds. Debt financing enables private prison corporations to maintain their business model and plays a critical role in the debt-financed growth of the private prison industry. According to a 2018 report published by the Center for Popular Democracy titled, “Bankrolling Oppression”, JPMorgan Chase has issued CoreCivic and GEO, $60 million and $194 million, in revolving credit and $89 million and $77 million in bonds, respectively.
JPMorgan Chase provides banking and financial services within prison facilities. The company issues formerly incarcerated people release cards, which allow incarcerated people access to the funds they were arrested with. These release cards are controversial for their predatory lending practices and lack of alternatives or regulation.
According to a November 2017 report, titled “Wall Street’s Border Wall”, JPMorgan is also a major investor in Sterling Construction, a company that was contracted to build a prototype for the US-Mexico border “Trump Wall.” Between March and June 2017, JPMorgan’s investment in Sterling Construction increased from zero to 145,200 shares at a value of $2.6 million at the time.
JPMorgan Chase has come under public scrutiny for its role in incarceration and immigrant detention. In April 2017, the Center for Popular Democracy launched a campaign targeting JPMorgan as one of several “Corporate Backers of Hate” that stand to profit from mass incarceration and deportation.
JPMorgan is listed as one of On July 25, 2018, protestors demonstrated outside of a JPMorgan Chase executive’s house in New York demanding that JPMorgan stop financing immigrant detention centers and private prisons. The protest was organized by Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change and the Center for Popular Democracy.
On September 2018, protestors demonstrated outside about 20 branches of Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase in the Bay Area urging customers to close their accounts because of their roles in the private prison industry and environmental damage, specifically in financing the Keystone XL Pipeline.
JPMorgan has also been targeted for its financing of the fossil fuel industry. In May 2018, a coalition of several environmental and human rights organizations called for a protest of JPMorgan’s Annual Shareholders meeting. In that same month, 14 protestors were arrested for blocking downtown Seattle as part of a nationwide protest against JP Morgan Chase banks for the company’s role in funding projects detrimental to environmental sustainability. In June 2017, the Oakland City Council voted to require banks to disclose investments that support the Dakota Access Pipeline as a way to boycott companies, such as JP Morgan Chase, that fund fossil fuel projects.
- On May 8, 2019 GEO Group cited in their first-quarter securities filing that growing public pressure to divest from the private prison industry and institutional resistance from banks"could have a material adverse effect on our business." The announcement comes recently after JP Morgan and Wells Fargo announced a moratorium on new financing for private detention facilities.
- On April 26, 2017, University of Wisconsin-Madison students passed a resolution to call for the university's divestment from private prisons and corporations that build border walls, naming Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Honeywell, L-3 Communications, Boeing, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, BNP Paribas, Suntrust, US Bank Corp., and Wells Fargo.