On Thursday June 11th, City Council is again set to vote on purchasing land to expand the Philadelphia Prison System. We have already successfully delayed the vote on Bill #150406 twice (huge thanks to all who called and tweeted at City Council as part of last week’s Call In Day) but Councilman Henon seems determined to bring it to a vote. That’s why we’re asking everyone to come to City Council on Thursday to tell City Council that Philadelphia needs to invest in decarceration, public education, and community reinvestment, not more jail cells! There will be time for public testimony, so you will have the opportunity to tell City Council why this jail expansion should be opposed. Can’t make it Thursday? Keep the pressure on by calling City Council this week to make your views known. See below for phone numbers and call scripts.
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.
COME OUT THURSDAY, and all week 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
You can find the contact info for everyone in City Council here. If you can only make a couple calls, call Councilman Henon, the bill's sponsor, to ask him to withdraw the bill, as well as your own Councilperson. 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
You can also tweet at your City Council members using the #No215Jail hashtag. For council twitter handles, see http://decarceratepa.info/tweet-day-say-no215jail
For more info see http://decarceratepa.info/No215Jail
Co-sponsored by Decarcerate PA & Philadelphia Student Union