University of California Invests Millions In Private Prisons

by Mickey Huff
Published: Updated:

A report surfacing from the Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC) titled, “University of California Has Millions Invested in Private Prisons,” brings to light that the UC system has investments in private prison corporations totaling $25 million, confirmed by the University of California’s Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher. Anthony Williams writes that the $25 million is split between the Corrections Corporation of America, or the CCA, and The GEO Group, the largest for-profit prisons in America. The Afrikan Black Coalition also confirms that the UC system has a $425 million investment in Wells Fargo, one of the most gracious donors to the prison-industrial complex. With a private prison system that has been known for putting profit before people and housing overcrowded prisons populated by primarily people of color, the UC system now has been revealed to have “blood on their hands.”

Private prisons profit off the incarceration of citizens, primarily people of color. When the UC system has been proven to be investing millions of dollars into such as system, one has to ask, why? In 2010, the US had 2.3 million people in prison, and the UC, an educational system, has been making money as a result. Awareness of these types of investments are crucial to the public so they are aware of the ever-present role lobbying plays in our societal institutions. According to ABC Field Organizer Kamilah Moore, “the goals of the private prison industry, which are to profit from the incarceration, labor, and rehabilitative treatment of black and immigrant lives, and the UC’s mission, which is teaching, research, and public service, are fundamentally incompatible.”

The major beneficiaries of such investments are none other than the investors. The ever-revolving cycle of money seems to touch the hands of the same corporations. According to an article published by Allison Kielhold of the Prison Divest Campaign in 2013, “The UC system is financially supporting these corporations (GEO and CCA) since the UC Regents are invested in Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Lazard, Blackrock Inc., and Morgan Stanley, all of which own over two thirds of CCA and GEO.”

The University of California has over 2.5 times the amount of shares than the Columbia University had before selling them off after heavy pressure from student activists and the public. In 2013, Columbia sold their shares of G4S and CCA for a reported $10 million. According to the Prison Divest Campaign site, members of the CCA and GEO have been members of ALEC, and have used their positions to advance laws that increase times for non-violent crimes such as drug convictions.

To date, this report has not had corporate news coverage, surfacing only in the two articles mentioned here, as well as an article in the UC Berkeley publication, The Daily Californian.


Anthony Williams, “University of California has Millions Invested in Private Prisons,” Afrikan Black Coalition, November 30, 2015,

Allison Kielhold,  “The University of California Invests in Prisons,” Prison Divest Campaign, October 31, 2013,

Austin Weinstein, “Afrikan Black Coalition denounces UC investment in private corrections companies,” The Daily Californian, November 30, 2015,

Student Researcher: Brandyn Vandal (Diablo Valley College)

Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)