Higher Education Funds Slashed While Prison Spending Remains Intact
Philadelphia, PA - People across Pennsylvania expressed outrage yesterday over cuts outlined in Governor Corbett’s 2012 Budget Address. The proposed budget cuts include more than $264 million to higher education and additional cuts to mental health services, medical assistance, and the Philadelphia School District. One thing not on the chopping block: Pennsylvania’s bloated prison budget. The Department of Corrections’ $1.8 billion budget remained untouched following last year’s 11% spending increase, and the governor plans to continue the controversial multimillion dollar expansion of the state prison system.
“Governor Corbett’s priorities are a disgrace to the people of Pennsylvania. If he cares about the future of our children, he should be funding public education and social services, not building more prisons to warehouse young people that the system has failed,” said Hakim Ali of Reconstruction, Inc., a community-based organization.
OCCUPY 4 Prisoners Rally - Monday, February 20, 2012 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
In support of Occupy Oakland’s call for a “National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners” please join Decarcerate PA for a rally at the offices of Heery International, a company being paid over $300 million to build two new state prisons in Montgomery County. This planned prison construction is just one part of a $685 million dollar plan to build three new state prisons and expand 9 others in Pennsylvania in the coming years. These prison expansions come at a time when budgets for education and human resources are being slashed left and right. These cuts will continue to devastate already struggling communities throughout Philadelphia.
At this rally we will be reading statements from people who can't be physically there with us because they are incarcerated, and leaving our own "blueprints" for all the things we would like to see built instead of prisons.
We will also be joined by the Returning Citizens Voters Movement, a coalition that is working to create a voting block of formerly incarcerated people.
Join us to demand: No new prisons Enough is enough! More prisons means more problems.
Decarceration Prison overcrowding can be solved one way and one way only: reduce the number of people in prison.
Community Reinvestment Imprisonment guts local resources and destroys families. We need to build communities, not prisons.
No More Prisons: A Call to Decarcerate Pennsylvania
Governor Corbett is seeking to expand nine existing prisons and build three brand new ones. This plan will add 8,000 new beds to our state’s already massive prison system, at a cost of more than $685 million. Yet in 2011 the governor cut nearly $1 billion from education and made massive cuts to a host of other essential programs and services.
Decarcerate PA is a grassroots campaign made up of organizations and individuals throughout Pennsylvania working to maximize public health and safety by putting a halt to the state’s broken and bloated prison system. We seek an end to prison construction and an expansion to initiatives that would reduce our reliance on prisons to begin with. Decarcerate PA has come together around three core initiatives to boost Pennsylvania’s economic, environmental, and ethical health. With your help, we can put an end to mass incarceration.
Decarcerate PA has recently put together a three part platform calling on Governor Corbett and Pennsylvania’s legislators to stop building new prisons, reduce the number of people in prison, and reinvest money in our schools and communities. We are reaching out to organizations across the state and asking them to sign on to this platform in order to demonstrate broad-based support for these policy changes. Already more than seventy organizations have endorsed this platform. If your organization would like to sign on, please contact us by email at decarceratePA@gmail.com or by phone at (267) 217-3372. Individuals can also sign on to the platform by clicking HERE. We look forward to working with you!
Right now, Decarcerate PA has chapters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but we are eager to expand our work throughout the state. If you are interested in starting a Decarcerate PA chapter where you live, email us at decarceratePA@gmail.com or call (215)217-DEPA
On October 28th 2011, radical anti-prison activist, scholar and former political prsioner Angela Davis came to Philadelphia to speak at the University of Pennsylvania and at Occupy Philly. In both of her talks she gave powerful shout outs to decarceratePA! You can check out the clip in the audio below