Call scripts for #No215Jail Day of Action

Telephone

For calls to Council President Darrell Clarke:

Caller: Hi, my name is __________. I’m calling to urge Councilman Clarke to take a stand against mass incarceration and cancel tomorrow's scheduled vote on Bill #150406, which would allow the city to spend $7.2 million to purchase land for a new jail. I believe City Council should work aggressively to decrease the number of people held in Philadelphia’s County jails instead of spending millions of dollars to build new jail cells. Can I speak with the Councilman or someone else in the office about my concerns?

For calls to Councilman Bobby Henon (the sponsor of Bill #150406):

Caller: Hi, my name is __________. I’m calling to urge Councilman Henon to withdraw Bill #150406 from City Council’s agenda and cancel the plan to spend $7.2 million to purchase land for a new jail. I believe City Council should work aggressively to decrease the number of people held in Philadelphia’s County jails instead of spending millions of dollars to build new jail cells. Can I speak with the Councilman or someone else in the office about my concerns?

For calls to all other City Council members:

Caller: Hi, my name is __________. I’m calling to urge Councilperson ________ to take a stand against mass incarceration and vote NO on Bill #150406, which would allow the city to spend $7.2 million to purchase land for a new jail. I believe City Council should work aggressively to decrease the number of people held in Philadelphia’s County jails instead of spending millions of dollars to build new jail cells. Can I speak with the Councilperson or someone else in the office about my concerns?

You will likely be told that the Councilman is unavailable. If you are able to speak to a staff person, restate your demand that Councilperson ________ vote NO on Bill #150406 and take a stand against the expansion of the Philadelphia Prison System. You can use the following talking points in the conversation:

  • The House of Correction can—and should—be closed. But instead of building a new jail, City Council must address the massive number of people currently incarcerated in Philadelphia’s jail system.

  • About 80% of the 8000-plus adults and children currently held in PPS are being held pretrial. The overwhelming majority of people are there simply because they cannot afford to post bail while they await trial.

  • If Councilperson ________ truly cares about the wellbeing of people in the House of Correction, they should take the lead on reforming Philadelphia's broken bail process, challenging rampant overcharging in the District Attorney's office, addressing the excruciatingly slow pace of a court system that allows people to sit for years awaiting trial, and ending the police practices of racial profiling, brutality, and stop and frisk that disproportionately funnel poor people and people of color into the city's jails.

  • Even if the City closes House of Correction, this construction would still be a massive expansion of Philadelphia’s jail system. The House of Correction holds about 1500 people, and the facility has proposed a 3000-bed new jail to “replace” it. This would be an expansion any way you spin it.

  • The voters of Philadelphia sent a resounding message this past election that their priority is education and the funding of our schools. Investing in the school-to-prison pipeline goes completely against the mandate laid out by voters.

  • Former Councilman Jim Kenney—who won the mayoral primary and will likely be Philadelphia’s next mayor—has said publicly that he will not move forward with the construction of a new jail.

  • There continues to be a funding crisis in Philadelphia schools, with a recent study finding that the School District is spending less per student now than it was in 2008. How can City Council justify spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new jail when our schools lack counselors, nurses, and many other basic resources and supports?

  • Philadelphians do not want and cannot afford a new jail. We want investment in our schools, housing, jobs, reentry resources and other institutions that make our communities healthier, safer and stronger.

  • Please ask Councilperson _______ to vote NO on Bill #150406 and to take real action to reduce our city's jail population and close down the House of Correction without devoting hundreds of millions more to expand and perpetuate a failed system.