THERE IS A GROWING national consensus that mandatory-minimum sentences simply don't work. Despite this, Pennsylvania legislators are on track to pass yet another misguided bill, HB2331, which would create five-year mandatory-minimum sentences for illegal gun possession (Daily News, Aug. 17).
More mandatory-sentencing laws will not make us safer. They will, however, add thousands of people to our already out-of-control prison population at a time when Pennsylvania cannot afford to build more prisons.
A Rastafarian, a Sunni Muslim and a member of the Nation of Islam, came together last year to form a new local support and advocacy organization for ex-offenders. The name of the organization is Comprehensive Center for the Formerly Incarcerated, and all three of its founders are ex-offenders.
PERKIOMEN — After staging in the Perkiomen Trail parking lot late Tuesday afternoon, approximately 50 members of Decarcerate PA started walking toward their protest destination of Route 29 and Graterford Road.
However, a handful of Pennsylvania State Troopers stopped them in front of the Perkiomen Valley School District building on Route 29.
About 50 people converged on Tuesday afternoon July 17 along Route 29 in Montgomery County near the Graterford State Prison to declare their opposition to the building of more prisons and the expansion of existing prisons like Graterford in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Graterford is already a massive institution.
LAST WEEK, Gov. Corbett signed a prison-reform bill that aims to keep nonviolent drug offenders out of state prisons, but for one group in the state, true reform means refraining from building any more prisons.
Decarcerate PA, which seeks to reduce the prison population and advocates for a moratorium on new prison facilities, spent Tuesday afternoon protesting two correctional facilities under construction in Skippack, Montgomery County.
PERKIOMEN TOWNSHIP — A rally will be held by residents of both Montgomery County and Philadelphia at the intersection of Route 29 and Graterford Road from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday to protest the construction of two new prisons in Montgomery County on the grounds of SCI Graterford.
Pennsylvanians demand an end to two new prisons in Montgomery County
Skippack Township: Community members from Montgomery County and Philadelphia will rally on Tuesday, July 17, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the intersection of Route 29 and Graterford Road to protest the construction of two new prisons on the grounds of SCI Graterford in Montgomery County. Part of a growing campaign against the controversial prison expansions, the demonstration calls on Governor Corbett cancel the construction while still in its early stages and reinvest the remaining tax dollars in institutions that strengthen communities.
“Pennsylvania does not need another prison,” said Sarah Small of Decarcerate PA, a statewide coalition of more than 75 organizations opposing prison construction and supporting policies that reduce the number of people in prison. “Other states are finding ways to reduce their prison populations and close prisons. It’s time Pennsylvania caught up to the rest of the country.”
“Picture This!” campaign illustrates costs of prison expansion
Governor Corbett just signed off on a controversial budget that he says will put the state on a “diet.” But when it comes to prisons, the governor continues to loosen Pennsylvania’s belt.
The 2012-2013 budget completely eliminates General Assistance and fails to restore last year’s $840 million cut to public education, yet continues to fund the $685 million plan to build two new prisons in Montgomery County and a third in Centre County. These new prisons—along with the expansions of nine existing facilities—add over 5,000 beds to the state prison system even as Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel has set a goal of reducing the prison population by approximately 5,000 people over the next five years.