This past Tuesday, Metro Nashville City Council members passed a resolution that would prohibit the city from investing in private prison companies in the future.

Erica Gilmore, a city council member, introduced Resolution 2018-1309 to demand Nashville divest from CoreCivic, a single private prison company. However, Councilman Vercher clarified that the city has not invested in CoreCivic since 2016.

In response, Gilmore amended the resolution to state that the city will divest from all prison companies from now on.

Local activists hosted a press conference on Monday to pressure the City Council to pass the bill.

The bill passed with 20 in favor, 3 opposed, and 11 abstained on Tuesday.

City Council Vote

Drost Kokoye, a local Muslim activist in attendance, explained, “District 6 City Councilmember Brett Withers had to step out for the vote because he works for CoreCivic… Nashville is where CoreCivic is headquartered. CoreCivic is one of the biggest private prison corporations in the country. Until recently, it was known as the Corrections Corporation of America. Its transportation arm is named TransCor America. Though it has tried very hard recently to rebrand itself out of responsibility, Tennesseans still very closely follow its actions.”

Kokoye continues, “Up until 2016, Metro Nashville’s Benefit Committee had almost $1 million invested in CoreCivic stocks. By the end of 2016, that was divested. Currently, Metro Nashville has no investments in CoreCivic or any other private prison corporation, and RS2018-1309 aims to keep it that way. AMAC recognizes the criminalization and imprisonment of marginalized communities as a Muslim issue. We held Nashville’s city council accountable to the rights of our community members by urging them to pass RS2018-1309 and we were happy to see that step be taken.”