A panel that oversees a multibillion-dollar pension fund for New Mexico teachers and other educational retirees took a step Friday toward dropping investments in private prison companies.
The Educational Retirement Board voted 4-2, with one member abstaining, to amend its investment policies to exclude private prisons from its portfolio. The vote came after more than a year in which pressure from teachers’ unions and immigration activists fueled a debate about socially responsible investments.
The latest round of public comment included what some board members described as impassioned pleas to stop putting any money into funds that include private prison companies.
Some board members reiterated their concerns Friday, saying members should be mindful not to run afoul of constitutional mandates and statutory requirements that guide investment of the retirement fund. Those who voted against the motion to begin revamping the board’s policies said that, to effect more change, activists should be lobbying the state Legislature and municipal officials who contract with private prison companies.