BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Regions Bank has decided to cut its credit services ties with CoreCivic after activist groups in Alabama brought up some of the company’s past track record.
A spokesperson with Regions Bank says they will not renew their relationship with them as their contract ends in 2023.
Activists groups like Alabama Students Against Prisons, Black Lives Matter and several others spoke to representatives with Regions on their relationship with CoreCivic. Many in those groups would tout this as a step in the right direction.
“The power of folks coming together that care about their community is powerful,” Cara McClure with Black Lives Matter said.
Joshua Thompson with ASAP says they brought up CoreCivic’s humanitarian issues and why he believes new private prisons aren’t the solution to Alabama’s prison issue.
“It wasn’t a good business practice anymore and that people do not want to see prisons being funded in order to make a profit anymore,” Thompson said.
McClure was with Thompson during the talks and says CoreCivics history is a big problem for Birmingham and the rest of the state.
“We felt the need to show them how their decision back 20 years ago to build a relationship with CoreCivic has impacted our everyday life,” McClure said.
Jeremy King with Regions sent CBS 42 this statement on their decision:
Regions provides some banking services to CoreCivic, and our contractual obligation to deliver these services lasts until 2023. We are not extending additional credit services to CoreCivic, and we are not providing CoreCivic with financing specifically for the construction of the prisons to be built in Alabama. We have met with various community groups, customers and stakeholders over time to receive feedback on the issue of private prisons. We listened closely to the perspectives that were shared, and we appreciate the candid feedback we received.Jeremy King with Regions Bank
King also released a statement clarifying some concerns raised by the groups.
I’ve seen some statements or reports claiming that Regions was going to be ‘financing’ the construction of the prisons to be built by CoreCivic in Alabama. That was never the case. We have not, and were not, providing financing for the prison construction by CoreCivic in Alabama. Rather, the banking services listed in the statement above predated the state’s prison plan. I also saw a report that said we were ‘pulling out’ funding for the new Alabama prisons. Again, we were not providing funding specific for those prisons, so to say we were pulling out the funding would be inaccurate.Jeremy King with Regions Bank
“It kind of shows that the prison business is bankrupting itself. It’s no longer viable,” Thompson said.
CoreCivic responded to CBS 42 on the news and statements made by ASAP and BLM:
We have the financing we need to conduct our business and serve our partners. Activists have waged a lies-based campaign against our company that isn’t solving a single problem in our criminal justice system. The reality is our partners continue to work with us because they understand the difference we make. We provide government the flexibility to manage the ups and downs of prison populations and provide better, safer care to inmates. Every day, we help nearly 1,500 inmates learn the life and vocational skills they need to find and keep employment once released. And under a longstanding, zero-tolerance policy, we don’t draft, lobby for or promote legislation that determines the basis or duration of an individual’s incarceration.CoreCivic
Anyone serious about this issue knows that we aren’t the driver of mass incarceration – only 8 percent of inmates are cared for in facilities run by private contractors – but we are working hard to be part of the solution.
Both Thompson and McClure say their fight against private prisons in the state is far from over.
“We’re just trying to hit it at all cylinders. Who’s building the prisons, how are they getting funded, and stopping it at its source,” Thompson said.
Governor Kay Ivey has signed the lease agreement in two of the three proposed locations in Elmore and Escambia counties. The Bibb County location is still being discussed.