Dozens of protesters with Decarcerate PA lined the intersection of Route 29 and Main Street in Collegeville on Monday while marching to Harrisburg to object to the state's expanding prison system.
"Educate, don't incarcerate, decarcerate PA," was chanted from the side of the street, while a woman with a sound system explained the goals of the march - to tell legislators to fund education, not the prison system.
Decarcerate PA, an anti-prison activist group, has organized a 10-day march from Philadelphia to Harrisburg beginning Saturday, and will spend the weekend walking through Norristown and Collegeville to Pottstown, stopping for a protesting to end prison expansions along the way.
The 113-mile trek has been labeled the “March for a People’s Budget: Stop the Prison Expansion Now!,” and will begin Saturday at noon with a rally in Love Park.
On Sunday, June 2nd, about two dozen opponents of prison expansion will arrive in Harrisburg as part of their ten-day march from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. The march is being organized by Decarcerate PA, a grassroots coalition, and is co-sponsored by a broad alliance of community groups, nonprofits, labor organizations, education advocates, and formerly incarcerated organizers. The “March for a People’s Budget: Stop Prison Expansion Now!” began on May 25th.
Decarcerate PA rallied today near City Hall to announce a march to Harrisburg demanding that Gov. Tom Corbett and the legislature cut prison funding and invest in education and social services.
“A lot of legislators talk the talk about all the things they’re going to do," said Decarcerate PA’s Joshua Glenn, describing the 113-mile trek. "But when they’re in office, they never do it. We’re walking the walk to show legislators how serious we are about ending mass incarceration."
Philadelphia, PA –Decarcerate PA and a diverse coalition of supporting organizations announced today that they will march over a hundred miles from Philadelphia to Harrisburg to demand a budget that invests in Pennsylvania’s communities and not in unnecessary, unwanted prison construction. In order to emphasize their call for smarter funding priorities, speakers “broke ground” on a better Pennsylvania.
“It’s outrageous that over $400 million is being poured into building new prisons while twenty-three schools in Philadelphia are being closed due to budget cuts. Legislators and Governor Corbett are hurting students across the state with these broken funding priorities” said Azeem Hill of the Philadelphia Student Union.
It is disheartening to see that Pennsylvania’s legislators are again looking to harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws as an answer to gun violence in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Inquirer, April 5). Mandatory sentencing dramatically increases the number of people in prison, even as countless studies have shown it does nothing to deter crime.