At noon today, members 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.
This time around on DPA Radio we have the Global Women's Strike, the Philly chapter of a national organization which has taken on mass incarceration as a part of their broader work fighting for economic power for women. In Philadelphia the GWS has joined Decarcerate PA on pretty much every count and have organized solidarity actions for Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers, been involved with the campaign to free Russel Maroon Shoatz and coordinated a forum on Solitary confinement in September.
Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel told the Philadelphia Inquirer "My first instinct was to pull the plug" on the new prisons the state is building outside of Philadelphia. For some reason, Wetzel changed his mind and is building the prisons anyway.
Pennsylvania is currently spending over $400 million to build two new prisons in Montgomery County on the grounds of SCI Graterford. The two prisons, named SCI Phoenix I and II, are the second most expensive construction project ever undertaken in the state's history. The prisons are being built at a time when the Department of Corrections’ own projections predict a decreasing prison population. For more on why prison expansion is bad for Pennsy
This week on Decarcerate PA radio YASP, The Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project with Alisha & Romeeka
The number of teenagers under the age of 18 who are held in adult jails and prisons in Pennsylvania has increased drastically over the last fifteen years. The Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP) is building a youth-led movement to stop this trend by ending the practice of automatically trying and incarcerating young people as adults. Through its work in the Philadelphia jails, YASP provides space for incarcerated young people to express themselves creatively and to develop as leaders both within and beyond the prison walls. Young people who have been through the adult court system are at the forefront of YASP, leading the movement to keep teenagers out of adult prisons and to create new possibilities for youth around the city.
DPA radio crew Owen Lyman-Schmidt, Hakim Ali, Dave Onion, Leana Cabral & Ana Martina.
This week on Decarcerate Radio: Juvenile Life Without Parole
Out of all the states Pennsylvania has the most people serving life without parole sentences for crimes they committed as a juvenile. Listen to interviews with Anita Colon (PA Prison Society, Pennsylvania Fair Sentencing for Youth, Fight for Lifers) and her brother,Robert “Saleem” Holbrook, a politicized prisoner, prolific writer and human rights activist being held by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections since 1989 for being present during a murder committed by someone else.
The state is building 2 new prisons at a cost of over $400 million. This is the second most expensive construction project in the state's history and comes at a time when schools across Pennsylvania are closing for lack of funding. According to Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, the decision to build new prisons is based on an internal cost-benefit study conducted by the Department of Corrections in 2007.