Jesus announcement “release the captives” not well received in Florida: Football stadium named after for-profit prison

When Jesus announced his ministry as bringing “good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18),  this Jubilee year included release of “captives,” like those in prison.

Jesus’ announcement was not well received by the “for profit” prison industry, however, especially in Florida, where Florida Atlantic University just accepted $6 million dollars to name their football stadium after Geo Group, the nation’s largest for-profit prison operator.

One of the ways you can get $6 million dollars to donate is to keep people in prison to turn a profit, instead of releasing them.

Geo Group has also been accused of “human rights violations” in its for-profit prisons.

Yet, as Stephen Colbert points out, there could be a good fit here in naming a football stadium after a for-profit prison accused “of unnecessary deaths of people in their custody, [that] children detained in their facilities suffered cruel treatments,” and, in one facility, of “brazen staff sexual misconduct.”

Colbert Report

Colbert Report

“Brazen sexual misconduct a natural fit with football,” notes Colbert.  And he asks, “So the money you using to pay for these naming rights on a school building came from profits you made form locking up children and occasionally abusing them?”

“Proclaim release to the captives” was never better news, perhaps, than for those abused children and adults locked up in for-profit prisons.  It might also come as good news for the outraged students at FAU, the “Owls,” who now have to attend games at “Owlcatraz.”

About Susan Thistlethwaite

I am President Emerita and Professor Emerita of Chicago Theological Seminary; I write for the public here and in local papers. I am interested in what I call "public theology," or how deeper meaning is made and contested in the public square.
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