Philadelphia incarcerates people at a rate more than TWICE the national average, and it has the shameful distinction of incarcerating people at a higher rate than every other big city in the nation. As our nation finally acknowledges the error of mass incarceration, cities across the country are forced to confront how their own policies have contributed to this human rights crisis. In Philadelphia, local policies, including the unconstitutional use of probation detainers, have created a crisis that can and will be solved because of the leadership of those who have been directly impacted by Philadelphia’s jail epidemic.
The #CLOSEthecreek campaign, led by directly impacted individuals, builds on the groundswell of local support for decarceration that has been developed through decades of successful advocacy. The #CLOSEthecreek campaign demands that Philadelphia’s elected officials:
Close the House of Correction for good within 2 years
Cut the local prison population in half to no more than 3,000 people
End electronic monitoring
Reinvest savings in locally-run, community-based services for returning community members
Mothers in Charge, National Workforce Opportunity Network – Community Education Program (NWON – CEP), Philadelphia Student Union (PSU), The Center for Returning Citizens (TCRC), X-Offenders for Community Empowerment, Women’s Center for Carceral Empowerment, Youth Art Self-Empowerment Project (YASP), Healing Communities
For years, directly impacted and formerly incarcerated people in Philadelphia have advocated for the City of Philadelphia to close the House of Correction, known locally as The Creek. On April 18, 2018, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced that the city would close The Creek, but our work is just beginning. We must push forward to ensure that all our demands are met and that the voices and experiences of directly impacted communities are amplified throughout this process.Download
In Philadelphia, legally innocent people are jailed because of how prosecutors choose to assign charges and how judges set the price of their freedom. Two-thirds of people in Philly jails are held pretrial on bail or probation/parole detainers. In order to bring our people home, we CAN and MUST #EndCashBail WITHOUT racist, biased Risk Assessment Instruments (RAIs). Instead of accepting new ways to disguise an oppressive system that puts our people in cages, we must end cash bail and detainers, demolish the House of Correction, and BRING OUR PEOPLE HOME.Download
“A campaign called #CLOSEthecreek works to end mass incarceration in Philadelphia and end cash bail. They gathered citizens and other criminal justice reform advocates at a rally near the Octavius B. Catto statute.
The protesters want to block the city’s proposed implementation of a risk assessment instrument, or RAI, which would take data about a defendant and use an algorithm to help the court determine his or her “risk” pre-trial.”Read More
“Julian Cruz was one of hundreds gathered in the late afternoon shadows, and said he decided to join the rally because of his own experience in the prison system.
“I was in one of them. I know how inhumane it is,” said Cruz, who was walking by City Hall and stopped to listen to speakers and participate in the rally when he spotted Jondhi Harrell of the Center for Returning Citizens handing out ‘Close the Creek’ T-shirts.”Read More
“Reuben Jones, the #CLOSETheCreek campaign coordinator for JustLeadershipUSA, said it doesn’t make sense to preserve the building for future use if the city has already determined that it’s worth closing.
Jones wants the city to close the prison before its goal of 2020 — and then demolish it completely.”Read More