JustLeadershipUSA and the #CLOSEthecreek Campaign Response on Philadelphia’s Goal to Reduce the Incarcerated Population by Half – Statement from Reuben Jones, #CLOSEthecreek Campaign Coordinator

July 7, 2018

“Today JustLeadershipUSA and the #CLOSEthecreek campaign mark yet another victory on the path toward decarcerating and redefining justice in Philadelphia as the administration has publicly shared they will work to reduce the incarcerated population to half. We want to publicly acknowledge the City’s leadership for moving in our direction and working to halve the population. We also want to recognize #CLOSEtheCreek partners and grassroots organizers who worked to make this major victory happen including the No215 Jail Coalition, The Center for Returning Citizens (TCRC), The Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project (YASP), Decarcerate PA, and the Coalition for a Just D.A.

Organizers are working in the context of a rapidly gentrifying Philadelphia, where contact with the system of mass criminalization and even a few hours in jail especially for Black and brown people, can mean loss of employment, inability to pay rent, displacement, family separation through children’s services or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We are working to reduce this range of harm.

When we began organizing in November of 2017 we set a campaign demand that the City reduce the incarcerated population by half, to no more than 3,000 people. The Mayor’s Office has shared with KYW Newsradio that their goal to see the prison population reduced from 8,082, where it was three years ago, to 4,041 people by 2020. We applaud the administration and we believe that the rapid decarceration Philadelphia has achieved, indicates further decarceration –to no more than 3,000 people–is possible. We encourage all elected leaders in Philadelphia to work toward this goal.

The #CLOSEthecreek campaign builds on decades of successful advocacy. Our demands are as follows:

Close the House of Correction for good within 2 years (victory achieved)

Cut the local prison population in half to no more than 3,000 people (victory in progress)

Reinvest savings in locally-run, community-based services for returning community members (victory in progress)

End electronic monitoring

The #CLOSEthecreek campaign is led by JustLeadershipUSA under the direction of people impacted by mass criminalization and in partnership with local organizations that have built the decarceration movement in Philadelphia over decades of successful advocacy. JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA) is the first national organization in the country to call for the correctional system to be halved, and has inspired a movement of people and organizations to follow our mission toward decarceration.”



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