Barclays helps fund Alabama prison despite pledge against private prison companies

Multinational investment bank Barclays underwrites financing for two of Alabama’s new prisons for private prison company CoreCivic after the bank said it would no longer fund such companies.

Barclays in 2019, joined many other banks that cut ties with companies that detain immigrants and run for-profit prisons. Tennessee-based CoreCivic has faced increased public reluctance to provide housing for immigrants for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, some of whom were holding children in cages along the U.S. border.

Wells Fargo, SunTrust, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Fifth Third Bankcorp, based in Birmingham Bank of regions and Barclays have all said they will no longer fund private prison companies.

Despite public statements severing ties with private prison companies, Barclays is the principal underwriter of a bond issue that aims to raise $ 634 million for Government Real Estate Solutions of Alabama Holdings LLC, a company owned by CoreCivic, for CoreCivic build and lease the two new prisons in Alabama for the operation of the Alabama Department of Corrections, Bloomberg reported.

Under the direction of the State of Alabama, Barclays worked alongside state officials and advisers to fund the purchase of two new penal facilities to be leased and operated by the Department of Corrections from the ‘Alabama for the duration of the funding,’ Barclays said. said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg News. “The commitment we made in 2019 not to fund private prison companies remains in place.”

The US Department of Justice in December filed a federal complaint against the State of Alabama and the Department of Corrections of Alabama, alleging violations of the constitutional rights of inmates to protection from inter-inmate violence, sexual abuse and excessive force by prison guards.

In previously published reports, the Department of Justice detailed the systemic issues of prison guard abuse, corruption, rampant drug use, violence, overcrowding, and understaffing in Alabama prisons. The DOJ in these reports states that while new prison facilities may help in some areas, the new buildings will not fully address the state’s widespread and deadly problems in its prisons.

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Gov. Kay Ivey’s administration had said there was an annual cap of $ 88 million on payments to CoreCivic to build and maintain the two prisons, which will be located in Elmore and Escambia counties, but information shared by administration officials with state lawmakers in January shows the payment is expected to be $ 94 million the first year, with increases each year over the 30-year period, bringing the total cost to the state to just over $ 3 billion, or $ 500 million more than the administration had forecast.

Ivey and ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn said the new prisons were needed to replace outdated facilities, reduce violence and make more room for rehabilitation services.

Negotiations on a third prison, to be built in Bibb County, are underway, according to Ivey’s office. This prison is to be built and leased to the state by the Alabama Prison Transformation Partners group, made up of Star America, BL Harbert International, Butler-Cohen, Arrington Watkins Architects and Johnson Controls.

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