Past November 6th member of Decarcerate PA traveled to Mechanicsburg to deliver a giant electrical plug to DOC Secretary John Wetzel, and demand that he “pull the plug” on prison expansion in Pennsylvania. This creative direct action is taking place in conjunction with a statewide call in day to demand the cancelation of the $400 million prisons currently being built in Montgomery County. In June, Secretary Wetzel told the Philadelphia Inquirer that his “first instinct was to pull the plug” on the prison construction (“Work Underway to Build Graterford Prison Replacement,” 6/2/2013). Then Wetzel changed his mind and is building prisons anyway.
The controversial prisons, called SCI Phoenix I and II, are the second most expensive construction project in the state’s history, and if completed they will house 4,100 people. We believe that prisons are not the answer to Pennsylvania’s problems. Instead, we should be investing in education, healthcare, jobs, drug and alcohol treatment, and community based reentry. We should be finding ways to keep people out of prison and bring people home.
In addition to cancelling Phoenix I and II, the protestors are delivering a list of 10 action steps that the Department of Corrections should take immediately to move away from mass incarceration. These demands include an end to solitary confinement, a streamlining of the parole process, and better access to medical care, healthy food, visitation, education, and mental health treatment. To see a complete list of the demands, check out http://decarceratepa.info/demand-letter-pa-doc.