Demonstrators Shut Down CoreCivic headquarters to Defend Families and Demand an End to Private Prisons
NASHVILLE, TN—Dozens of demonstrators have taken the CoreCivic headquarters, shutting down the corporate offices of the notorious prison profiteer formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America.
“CoreCivic is a human rights disaster in our own backyard,” said Jeannie Alexander of No Exceptions Prison Collective. “For decades, Core Civic has engaged in the business of tearing apart families and destroying communities as it has spurred the growth of the Prison Industrial Complex. They trade on human flesh and misery, and now their trade in human trafficking is visible to everyone as the world watches CoreCivic abuse and cage immigrant families for profit. Today activist and organizations from around the Southeast say no more. Today we move to abolish CoreCivic.”
Participating organizations include The Holler Network, No Exceptions Prison Collective, Tennessee Poor People’s Campaign, Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center, Black Lives Matter Nashville, Fight Toxic Prisons, Industrial Workers of the World Ashville chapter, Knoxville Radical Alliance, and others.
Protestors have blockaded entrances and locked their bodies down to prevent the company from doing business. They have set up tents, insisting that they won’t leave until CoreCivic halts construction of new detention facilities and releases the families they hold captive for profit.
According to CoreCivic’s 2018 first quarter Supplemental Disclosure, its largest customer is U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement, accounting for 25 percent of its total business. Immigration detention facilities include the Hutto Detention Center, Eloy Detention Center, Central Detention Center of Arizona, South Texas Residential Center in Dilly Texas, Laredo Processing Center and the Houston Processing Center. The United States Marshalls are its second largest customer accounting for 17 percent of its business, and the State of Tennessee is CoreCivic’s third largest customer accounting for 15 percent of CoreCivic’s total business. The rapid increase in ICE raids has directly resulted in immigrant detention as a growth sector in CoreCivic profits.
Since 2000, the percentage of prisoners held in private prison facilities has grown by 47 percent, while the total national prison population has grown by 9 percent. CoreCivic holds 63 contracts to own, operate, or manage jails, prisons, and immigration detention facilities with the federal government and 27 states. As of 2017, 73 percent of the detained immigration population is confined in private facilities, which continue to reap the economic rewards of the abhorrent inhumane practice of family detention.
In recent weeks, blockades, occupations, and protests have taken place at ICE facilities across the country. Outraged citizens from Portland to Philadelphia to Atlanta have taken action to draw attention to the brutal separation of children from their parents and loved ones, and co-workers and neighbors from their workplaces and communities.
Here in Nashville, demonstrators have targeted not just the enforcers of cruel and ineffective immigration policy, but the callous profiteers who turn suffering into shareholder dividends.
Black Lives Matter Nashville has released the following statement: “Private prisons have betrayed the public trust placed in them by the taxpayers and have failed all of us by abusing the citizens caged within their walls. Black Lives Matter Nashville stands with all of our siblings who are resisting at the CoreCivic headquarters in opposition to the monetization of black suffering that is the private prison system. The cages holding our black and brown kinfolk are the latest iteration of generations of human rights abuses. We will stand in the space our imprisoned kin should be free to stand in until the system is torn down, and a new system is rebuilt humanely.”
Ashley Dixon, a former CoreCivic correctional officer at Trousdale prison, is locked down with the blockade.
“I quit my job after watching two prisoners die due to medical neglect,” Dixson said. “One was only 25 years old. I watched many employees quit because they knew what was happening there was wrong. This corrupt company can no longer be allowed to profit off the bodies of prisoners and immigrants.”
To halt this outrageous violation of basic human rights and dignity, people from across the Southeast have stepped up to send a clear message to the nation that they will not tolerate this cruelty and exploitation in their community.
“We have watched the kidnapping of our neighbors, infants taken from their mothers’ arms, families separated, and children caged. We know that mass incarceration thrives off the captivity of black and brown bodies and the bodies of the poor. These atrocities are possible because they are rooted in systemic racism, poverty and the war economy. This is why the Tennessee Poor People’s Campaign stands with Resist ICE Nashville in shutting Core Civic,” said Beth Foster of the Tennessee Poor People’s Campaign.
Organizers call on all people of conscience to show their support for this resistance by coming to the Burton Hills blockade to demand the abolition of private prisons and an end to family detention centers.
For more information, contact Baris, ResistIceNashville@gmail.com, 615-802-8104.