Teachers, wake up: Check out PERA’s investments | AspenTimes.com

Teachers, wake up: Check out PERA’s investments

Teachers, including retirees, are you aware your retirement fund, Public Employees Retirement Association, is invested in the GEO Group which manages 69 private prisons including the infamous Aurora Detention Center, which is confining about 1,000 immigrants and asylum seekers?

It’s important to remember, the more people private prisons incarcerate, the more money they make. The role of a public correctional facility is to rehabilitate its inmates so they can re-enter society. Ah! The joys of capitalism! There was a Lights for Liberty Candlelight Vigil in Glenwood Springs and the Aurora facility was the target of a protest on July 12.

A Department of Homeland Security investigation uncovered violations of Immigration Customs Enforcement standards for recreation, in-person visitation, and solitary confinement. Inmates in solitary were put in handcuffs when let out contrary to ICE rules.

The facility is in Rep. Jason Crow’s district and he discovered cases of the mumps and chicken pox there and promised a return visit. The situation has also caught the attention of Reps. Diane DeGrette and Joe Neguse.

The detainees are far from hardened criminals. Asylum seekers have come to this country to take refuge from political and criminal persecution, as they have a perfect right to do. The most the undocumented immigrants are guilty of is entering the country illegally, which is a misdemeanor.

We all know how socially conscious teachers are. Please, tell PERA to divest from a nefarious organization that preys on the misery of others, like the GEO Group. As one of the signs at the Lights for Liberty rally said, “I need to be able to tell my children I did not stay silent.”

Fred Malo Jr.