NEW YORK — In a major win for the movement to end the predatory for-profit bail system, the American Civil Liberties Union and Color Of Change have learned that private equity firm Endeavour Capital has exited its investment in Aladdin Bail Bonds and its affiliate Seaview Insurance. This comes on the heels of a multi-year campaign waged by the ACLU and Color Of Change to pressure Endeavour to exit the for-profit bail industry or to persuade its investors to divest from it.
A report put out by the ACLU in December of 2019 outlined how Endeavour Capital acquired Aladdin Bail Bonds, the largest for-profit bail bond company in the country, in 2012. Since that time, Endeavour has expanded the company’s presence from three states to eight. It spent heavily to fight bail reform or expand for-profit bail in states like California, Oregon, and New Mexico. The largest investors in Endeavour Capital include the Washington State Investment Board, the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho, the Oregon Investment Council, and the University of Washington Endowment fund.
Udi Ofer, director of the Justice Division at the ACLU, issued the following statement:
“On any given day, hundreds of thousands of people are incarcerated in jail because they cannot afford money bail. This system does not exist by accident, but as a result of the billions of dollars that large companies are making off the backs of the people exploited by our criminal legal system. Endeavour is just the latest large corporation that has decided it is politically unwise to profit off the exploitation inherent in the bail industry. Just as we have seen a movement away from investments in for-profit prisons, we’re now seeing the same for money bail.
“Ending the predatory system of money bail and wealth-based incarceration is a key pillar in the ACLU’s strategy to end our mass incarceration crisis. Money shouldn’t determine someone’s freedom from incarceration. Profits must be removed from playing any role in deciding whether a person is free or in jail. It's time to end our nation's system of cash bail, which lets the size of your wallet determine whether you are locked up.”
Scott Roberts, senior criminal justice campaign director at Color Of Change, issued the following statement:
“The predatory, for-profit bail industry preys on our nation’s most vulnerable people, particularly those who are too poor to buy their way out of jail. This disproportionately affects Black and brown communities, which continue to be ravaged by a criminal legal system that is motivated by profit and racism. Since we exposed the giant publicly-traded insurers and private equity behind for-profit bail in 2017, Tokio Marine, Randall & Quilter, and now Endeavour Capital, have gotten out of the racist bail industry. It’s time for Fairfax Financial to do the same.
“The message today is clear: You cannot get rich by tearing Black and brown families apart. Voters, investors, and taxpayers see you, they understand what you are doing, and they will hold you accountable. Endeavour’s decision to divest from money bail is the latest victory for the growing movement to end the incarceration and criminalization of our communities.”