At Sunday's OP event You Can Have Your Playground When You/We Fix Our City, Dana from Decarcerate PA made the following speech to address why and how we want to rechannel our resources away from prisons and into socially useful projects:
Decarcerate PA is a coalition of individuals and organizations, many of whom have been working on prison issues for a long time, both inside and outside of the prison walls. Some of us have been incarcerated, some of us have family and loved ones inside, many of us have worked on a range of issues relating to the Prison Industrial Complex for many years including work on re-entry, on keeping people out, work related to youth and prisons, against police brutality, political prisoner work, and work supporting people and improving conditions for those who are inside. We came together under the banner of Decarcerate PA because we needed a place to attempt to radically address the issues of prisons and transform the system entirely, by putting a moratorium on prisons and getting people out of prisons.
Right now PA wants to put 685 million dollars into prison explansion. They say that this is to address overcrowding.
Building and expanding prisons does not address overcrowding. A new prison is a full prison.
Our prisons are not overcrowded because of crime.
Our prisons are overcrowded because communities and identities are policed with policies like the curfew law, and stop and frisk. Because of racist, homophobic policies and practices that target poor people, people who are homeless, particularly black and latino people, sex workers, youth, queer and gender non-conforming people. Policing for the sake of protecting the interests of the 1 percent.
Our prisons are overcrowded because of sentencing practices like life without parole, and sentencing youth as adults, for draconian drug laws
Our prisons are overcrowded because right now 685 million goes into prison construction and not into schools, jobs, housing, and building strong self sustaining communities
That is why we are here together, because this is all one struggle
Please join us in reading our bid, which many of us here at Occupy helped to deliver to Hill International the management company overseeing the expansion of Graterford prison. This is where we think the priorities of Philadelphia should be.
Build Communities Not Prisons
check out Decarcerate PA at http://decarceratepa.info