For three weeks in a row we have successfully stopped City Council from voting on jail expansion. Hundreds have mobilized to call or come to City Council, and local media outlets are covering the story. But the fight is far from over!
On Thursday June 18, City Council is again set to vote on Bill #150405, which would authorize the city to spend $7.2 million to acquire land on which to build a new jail. We believe that investment in decarceration and public education—not more jail cells--is the answer to overcrowding in the Philly Prison System. This is the final Council meeting of the summer, so it is critically important that we defeat this bill on Thursday.
That’s why we are asking everyone to call City Council on Wednesday and come to the meeting on Thursday to say #No215Jail!
Wednesday: Call and Tweet City Council
CALL, TWEET, and WRITE CITY COUNCIL to demand that they vote NO on jail expansion, and instead fully fund our schools and social services and reverse the destructive and racist policies that keep the Philly jails full.
Call scripts and talking points are available here: http://decarceratepa.info/NoJailScript
For twitter handles and sample tweets, see http://decarceratepa.info/tweet-day-say-no215jail
Find your councilperson here: http://bit.ly/PhilaCouncil
- Council President Darrell L. Clarke - (215) 686-2070
- Bobby Henon - (215) 686-3444
- Mark Squilla - (215) 686-3458
- Kenyatta Johnson - 215)686-3412
- Jannie Blackwell - (215) 686-3418
- Curtis Jones, Jr. - (215) 686-3416
- Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez - (215) 686-3448
- Cindy Bass - (215) 686-3424
- Marian B. Tasco - (215) 686-3454
- Brian J. O’Neill - (215) 686-3422
- W. Wilson Goode, Jr. - (215) 686-3414
- William K. Greenlee - (215) 686-3446
- Ed Neilson - (215) 686-3420
- Dennis O’Brien - (215) 686-3440
- David Oh - (215) 686-3452
- Blondell Reynolds Brown - (215) 686-3438
Thursday: Press Conference and Mobilization at City Hall!
On Thursday June 18th at 9:30am, we will be holding a press conference at City Hall to voice our opposition to this Bill. Join us at 9:30 and then stay for the Council Hearing. The City Council meeting starts at 10:00am in Room 400 at City Hall. There will be time for public testimony, so you will have the opportunity to tell City Council why this jail expansion should be opposed. Bring signs and banners! Help spread the word on facebook here.
Bill #150406 would authorize $7.2 million dollars to buy land to build a new jail in Philly. This is part of a long pattern of policy-makers cutting funding from schools and instead investing in the infrastructure to funnel young people into prisons. The city claims the new construction would replace the House of Correction, although it would house over 1000 more people. We believe the House of Correction can—and should—be closed. But instead of building a new jail, the city 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 City Council truly cares about the wellbeing of people in the House of Correction, they should reform Philadelphia's broken bail process, challenge rampant overcharging in the District Attorney's office, address the excruciatingly slow pace of a court system that allows people to sit for years awaiting trial, and end 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.
The mobilization against the jail expansion is a collaborative effort of Decarcerate PA, the Philadelphia Student Union, the Human Rights Coalition, and X-Offenders for Community Empowerment.