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The following resolution was adopted without amendment at CTU’s April 3, 2019 House of Delegates meeting.

WHEREAS, for-profit prison companies have been trying to build civil immigration detention centers in Illinois since 2011, despite our state’s ban on privatized criminal facilities; and

WHEREAS, these companies make their profits from mass incarceration, primarily of immigrants and communities of color; and

WHEREAS, the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund has already moved to divest our retirement savings from investments in private prisons; and

WHEREAS, their business model involves maximizing their profit by keeping their facilities full while minimizing their expenses by cutting corners; and

WHEREAS, they pursue their profit-maximizing goals without any public safety rationale; and

WHEREAS, driven by their bottom line, private prison companies have left a long trail of human suffering such as:

  • dangerous conditions and abuse for those in detention; 22 deaths while in detention in past 2 years,
  • insufficient medical and mental health care, food service, and other resources, in some cases leading to deaths in custody,
  • detainees forced to work for pennies per hour,
  • communities buckling under the weight of prison personnel forced to endure low wages, low morale, and the crippling stress of working in a prison environment,
  • host communities abandoned when facilities fail to fill up and otherwise fail to generate the jobs and economic benefits they promise,
  • lack of accountability and effective oversight; and

WHEREAS, a new for profit detention center is slated for Dwight, IL and would receive detainees from the Midwest including Chicago; and

WHEREAS, the student population in the Chicago Public Schools is largely immigrant and of color, and the most impacted by immigration policy; and

WHEREAS, teachers increasingly have classrooms filled with students who have experienced their family ripped apart due to detentions and deportations; and

WHEREAS, the countries policy and budget priorities are intent on criminalizing immigrants and ramping up efforts to detain and deport and in effect divide families; and

WHEREAS, the rise of private prisons and detention centers are one of the tentacles of the deportation machine and also include the criminalization of youth in schools, punitive practices, the gang database and over policing in our schools and communities; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the CTU supports and will fight to keep families together and the reunification of families; and

RESOLVED, that the CTU fully supports House Bill 2040, which would: bar state and local government agencies from contracting with private companies to operate facilities to detain anyone in government custody, including federal, state, or local criminal or civil custody; bar state and local government agencies from giving payments to or receiving payments from any private prison operators related to any such facilities; and extend the current moratorium on privatized prisons to civil immigration detention, closing the loophole for immigration, juvenile, mental health, and other civil detention; and

RESOLVED, that the CTU will fight and defend our students and their families by mobilizing, lobbying, and engaging in any other action deemed necessary to fight against the detention and deportation practices of the current and future administrations; and

RESOLVED, that CTU representatives in our state and national affiliates will promote resolutions for corresponding actions at the state and national levels; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the CTU will create curriculum that engages students, teachers, and families about the larger implications of detention centers, the criminalization apparatus and the impact it has on students within the school and their communities.