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Punishment & Profit – Investors

Punishment & Profit

Originally Aired: Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Available for viewing

Overview

Who’s invested in the prison industry? We all are. Our retirement accounts, public pensions, university endowments, charitable foundations and more are invested in the prison industry through both public and private equity investments. Large consumer banks also further contribute by financing the expansion of corporations in the industry. Join us in a discussion with guests Phuong Luong, Elizabeth Parisian, Jim Baker and Morgan Duckett who are working to disentangle institutional fund from the prison industry.

 

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Worth Rises is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to dismantling the prison industry and ending the exploitation of those it touches. The organization exposes the commercialization of the criminal legal system and advocates and organizes to protect and return the economic resources extracted from affected communities and strip the industry of its power. Through this work, Worth Rises is helping to clear the road toward a safe and just world free of police and prisons. Find out more at worthrises.org.

Credit: Photo provided by guest

Bianca is the Founder and Executive Director of Worth Rises, combining her direct experience with the criminal legal system and expertise in financial and legal services to challenge the prison industry.

Before founding Worth Rises in 2017, Bianca was a legal fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, where she investigated the perverse financial incentives created by correctional funding. Previously, Bianca also worked with various state and local corrections agencies, including New York City, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Most notably, in New York City, she drafted the young adult plan that eliminated solitary confinement for young adults 21 years old and younger—a first in the nation.

Bianca has also consulted to the Association of State Correctional Administrators and worked for the Campaign to End Mass Incarceration at the American Civil Liberties Union. Bianca co-founded College Pathways at Rikers Island, a preparation program for incarcerated students interested in pursuing higher education. 

Before committing her career to the struggle for justice, Bianca worked as a financial analyst at Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. 

Bianca has been honored as a Draper Rickard Kaplan Entrepreneur, Art for Justice Fellow, TED Fellow, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Harvard University Presidential Public Service Fellow, Ford Foundation Public Interest Fellow, Paul & Daisy Soros New American Fellow, and an Education Pioneers Analyst Fellow. Bianca holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Phuong Luong

Credit: Photo provided by guest.

Phuong Luong, CFP® (she/her) is the Investment Strategist for Adasina Social Capital and manages the social justice investment portfolio management process. She evaluates, maintains, and champions the social justice values of the firm in partnership with the Adasina team, investors, data providers, and community partners. Phuong’s work is deeply informed by current and historical barriers to financial wealth for so many communities in the U.S. This knowledge comes from her experiences as a public school teacher and former nonprofit professional, her upbringing, as well as her current work outside of Adasina as a financial planner for individuals and families.

Credit: Photo provided by guest.

Elizabeth Parisian has worked in the labor movement for over a decade as a strategic campaigner, researcher, and communicator on corporate accountability campaigns. She currently leads the Capital Strategies program at the American Federation of Teachers, most recently supporting campaigns exposing the risks of investing workers’ capital in private prisons and hedge funds. Prior to joining AFT, Elizabeth worked on campaigns including Hedge Clippers, Fight for $15 and Stand Up! Chicago, where she was Policy Director. Elizabeth is based in Chicago and has a Master’s in Rural Sociology from Ohio State University.

Jim Baker

Credit: Photo provided by guest.

Jim Baker is the Executive Director of the Private Equity Stakeholder Project. The private equity industry is massive, hugely influential, and playing a role in more and more aspects of life in the US and around the world. The industry touches a growing number of stakeholders, from workers, to tenants and community groups, to incarcerated people and their families, to those concerned about the environment and climate change. The mission of the Private Equity Stakeholder Project is to identify, engage, and connect stakeholders affected by private equity with the goal of engaging investors and empowering communities, working families, and others impacted by private equity investments.

Morgan Duckett

Credit: Photo provided by guest.

Morgan Duckett, a senior in the Industrial Design professional program at Auburn University, is the Co-Founder of Alabama Students Against Prisons. His organization, A.S.A.P, works to build the power of students in Alabama to respond to mounting threats of prison privatization and the expansion of mass incarceration. Under Morgan’s leadership, A.S.A.P.’s membership grew from 4 to over 400 in just three months and ran a successful campaign to convince Alabama-based Regions Bank into ceasing their support of the private prison industry.

Now, the group focuses on supporting the needs of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated folks throughout the state by advocating for beneficial legislation and heightening opposition of construction plans that would dramatically expand incarceration in the state. In addition to his work with A.S.A.P, Morgan serves as a lead organizer for Hometown Action, where he co-leads their anti-racism working group fighting to address the historic and systemic issues that drive Alabama’s social inequity today.

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