#LiberateOurPensions is a national campaign to stop pensions from investing in private equity firms that own prison profiteers, starting with Platinum Equity, owners of predatory prison and jail phone company Securus.
Private equity firms and their investors have increased their investments in the prison industrial complex in recent years and the impact has been catastrophic. In acquiring these companies and their competitors to increase their own profits, private equity firms have significantly manipulated the landscape of the prisons industrial complex. They have consolidated the correctional telecom, healthcare, and commissary markets, among others, leading to considerable monopoly concerns.
Private equity firms use capital from pension funds, foundations, university endowments, and other institutional investors to “flip” private companies much like a contractor flips properties. After buying a company, a private equity firm will spend 4-6 years acquiring its competitors and increasing profitability before selling the company for a large profit. And unlike public companies that are traded on the stock market, private companies are typically shielded from public scrutiny and oversight.
This tangled web of investments means that there’s a good chance you’re invested in the prison industrial complex without even knowing it.
Who’s investing in prison & jail phone company Securus?
Among these private equity firms is Platinum Equity, a Beverly Hills-based private equity firm that owns Securus Technologies, one of the largest and most predatory correctional telecom companies in the U.S.
Annually, Securus extracts more than $600 million from millions of people directly impacted by mass incarceration through excessive pricing that exploits relationships with loved ones. Securus also employs threatening surveillance products and practices, including call recording, voice biometrics, and location tracking of not just incarcerated people, but also the support systems they communicate with on the outside.
Platinum Equity acquired Securus using its fourth flagship fund, Fund IV, in 2017. The New York City Common Retirement Fund and the Pennsylvania Public School Employee Retirement System were among the largest investors in Fund IV. Platinum Equity is currently fundraising for its fifth flagship fund, Fund V. As of July 2019, Platinum Equity had raised more than $7 billion of its target $8 billion.
Platinum Equity is currently meeting with investors all across the country to raise money for its next fund. It is our responsibility to hold public pensions funds accountable for investing in toxic firms like Platinum Equity. Through our public pension funds, we can #STOPPlatinumEquity from profiting off of communities directly impacted by mass incarceration, but must act today! Platinum Equity will likely be done fundraising by the end of summer. We must demand that our public pension funds enforce the demands advocates have made of Platinum Equity using their investor power. Whether you want to plan a direct action outside of a scheduled pension meeting or make phone calls and send letters to decision makers, we encourage you to join us and speak out! It's time to #LiberateOurPensions!