JPMorgan, the biggest bank in the United States by assets, has announced it will no longer finance the private prison industry, according to reports.
“JPMorgan Chase has a robust and well-established process to evaluate the sectors that we serve,” said spokesman Andrew Gray. “As part of this process, we will no longer bank the private prison industry.”
The bank has been under fire recently for lending to two of the biggest private prison companies in America, GEO Group and CoreCivic, both of which run facilities that have held immigrant families.
JPMorgan said it will not give the industry any new financing, and that it wants to get rid of its credit exposure as soon as possible.
JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has been under pressure from critics to make the move. Protesters even showed up at his Manhattan apartment on Valentine’s Day with a mariachi band and signs that said “break up with prisons.”
“These divestment efforts are politically motivated and based on a deliberate mischaracterization of our role as a long-standing service provider to the government,” said a GEO Group representative. “Our company has never managed facilities that house unaccompanied minors, including those who may have been separated from their parents.”
CoreCivic said it was disappointed by the news, and that JPMorgan has operated as “an important role in creating better conditions for inmates entrusted in our care.”
CoreCivic also said none of its prisons housed kids without parent supervision, and that it doesn’t know the “circumstances of individuals when they are placed in a facility, and our responsibility is to care for each person respectfully and humanely while they receive the legal due process to which they are entitled.”
In a May 2017 meeting, Dimon said he would look into the issue. In June, JPMorgan and other banks issued statements calling for immigration reform and an end to the Trump administration’s policy of removing children from their parents.