Decarcerate PA Points of Unity

Decarcerate PA is a grassroots campaign working to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania. Our work is framed around our Three Point Platform, which demands that the state stop building prisons, decrease the prison population, and reinvest resources in our schools and communities. We believe that it is important to both work for direct and material changes to the system as it is, and to imagine and fight for the world as we want it to be.

Our Points of Unity serve as a guiding document that speaks to our underlying values and our vision of the world we are building. They were created through months of collective reflection, dialogue and debate, with input from Decarcerate PA members both inside and outside of prison. We look to these Points to inform our campaigns, strategies, and practice and to hold each other accountable as we build this movement together.

Points of Unity

1. We oppose mass incarceration and the mass detention of immigrants, as well as the systems of oppression that maintain and uphold them.

2. We see our work as resisting all intersecting systems of oppression – including but not limited to those based on white supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, and economic injustice and exploitation — both in the world and in our relations with one another.

3. We recognize that mass incarceration and mass detention affect us all, but that they do not affect us all equally.

4. We know that those who are most directly and disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration and mass detention are best equipped to determine the changes and solutions required for their/our families and communities. We honor the work and leadership of political and politicized prisoners in these struggles. We look to movements led by people in prison and their loved ones for both momentum and inspiration in our mission.

5. As we fight to end mass incarceration as a whole, we are also committed to working for immediate changes that will keep people out of prison, bring people home from prison, and improve conditions for people who are incarcerated.

6. The movement to end mass incarceration is connected to the movements for quality public schools, stable and affordable housing, jobs and job training programs, health care, food access, respectful mental health services, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and community-based reentry services. We see the fights against mass incarceration and community divestment as intimately tied to one another. We are all stronger when we support each other.

7. We believe multiple strategies and diverse tactics are necessary for ending the current conditions of oppression and for building a better world.

8. We believe in the dignity of all people. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone can change. We are committed to remaining teachable and to the prospects of individual and collective transformation.

9. We recognize that violence and harm take place in our communities and need to be addressed, but we do not see prisons as the solution to that harm. Rather, we believe that processes of community-based accountability, which emphasize transformation instead of punishment and revenge, will alleviate harm and bring about healing.

10. We therefore believe in the dismantling of class and race based mass incarceration, the carceral, state, and the global prison industrial complex.

11. We believe in creating systems that are grounded in human rights, transformative justice, fairness to all, and the holistic healing of our communities. We strive in our own work to model the infrastructures of accountability, support, recognition, empathy, and mutual respect that such a world would require.

12. We believe everyone benefits from ending mass incarceration and mass detention and everyone has a role to play in this struggle.

13. Love and joy motivate us to continue.