Coalition charges Governor Corbett and DOC Secretary Wetzel with ‘crimes against Pennsylvanians’
Philadelphia. PA: A coalition of organizers are taking court proceedings to the streets with an elaborate display of street theater designed to shed light on the controversial $685 million expansion of Pennsylvania’s Prison system. Community members will descend on the Municipal Services Building Plaza at 15th St and JFK Boulevard at 4pm on Monday, November 19th, where they will put Governor Corbett and Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel on trial. Over a dozen witnesses are slated to present testimony of the administration’s ‘crimes against Pennsylvanians’, especially the decision to push forward with costly prison expansion while gutting essential services and education funding.
Massive Protest Planned for Corbett’s Philly Visit
Groups demand Corbett fund education and General Assistance, not prison construction
Philadelphia, PA: Hundreds are expected to protest on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Wednesday, September 18, from 7:30-9:30pm, while Governor Corbett speaks inside. The rally will highlight Governor Corbett’s failed policies and demand that he cancel his $685 million prison expansion plan, reinstate General Assistance, and fully fund public education.
“Many people living with HIV depend on GA for copayments and for rent if they are in a drug recovery program,” said ACT UP Philly member Leon Tyer. “By ending GA, Governor Corbett has put the nail in the coffin for them, and by building more prisons rather than focusing on education, he is condemning them into even more vulnerable positions. For me, it is very personal because I nearly died in prison because of a lack of medical care. I don’t want anyone else to go through that.”
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.