Why The NBA Is Being Urged To Force Detroit Pistons Owner Out Of Prison Communications Biz

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By Sabrina Lynch

  • Activists pressure NBA to get rid of Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores who owns one of the largest prison communication companies Securus
  • The prison phone industry is worth $1.3B

The NBA is feeling the pressure from prison reform advocates who have publicly decried Detroit Pistons’ owner Tom Gores who profits from racial inequity in the Criminal Justice System. In a letter published in the New York Times, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was pushed to demand Gores to sell the team that’s valued at $1.45 billion, and step down from the NBA board due to his ties to prison communications firm Securus Technologies. Activists charge that Securus, which is a major player in the $1.3 billion prison phone industry, is exploiting inmates and their loved ones who hail from poorer households, by charging $25 for a 15-minute call.

Why This Matters: Platinum Equity, the California-based buyout firm run by Gores, acquired Securus in 2017 for $1.6 billion has been benefiting from families contacting inmates in correctional facilities ever since. When you consider that 1 out of every 3 Black boys born today can expect to be sentenced to prison, compared to 1 out of every 6 Latino boys, and 1 out of 17 white boys, it’s easy to see the huge disparity and why the NBA is under fire to get rid of Gores..

Secarus is exploiting inmates and their loved ones who hail from poorer households, by charging $25 for a 15-minute call

Furthermore, the incarceration of a loved one or breadwinner can cause families and friends significant emotional distress, loss of income and property, and residential instability. Along with GTL, Securus controls more than 70% of the market for prison calls, gained by adding consumers fees and extra phone services into phone contracts with jails.

Situational Awareness: NBA players are one of the key supporters of social and racial-justice reform. The league recently announced their league-wide effort to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King with a retrospective campaign that includes images of NBA players, leaders and coaches taking part in social justice efforts over the past year. The problematic consequences of systemic racism and ‘auctioning’ of Black Lives through incarceration cannot be ignored by corporate America, and the NBA is no exception.

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