Statement From Reuben Jones, #CLOSEthecreek Campaign Coordinator, on House of Correction Population Dropping to Zero

May 31, 2018

“Today we mark another victory on the path toward decarcerating and redefining justice in Philadelphia. A city so deeply rooted in history and values should not be the most incarcerated major city in the United States. But for a long time, that is exactly what Philadelphia has been. This city deserves and demands a new direction. That is why directly impacted communities have been fighting for racial justice and a fairer justice system, and demanding an end to Philadelphia’s incarceration crisis, for decades.

“After months of organizing for the #CLOSEthecreek campaign – a culmination of that grassroots advocacy – Mayor Jim Kenney announced that The Creek would be depopulated and would close. Today, after tireless hard work, countless meetings and direct actions, and relentless pressure from advocates across the city, that depopulation is complete. The population at the House of Correction stands at zero.

“As far as what comes next, simple closure is not enough. The Creek must be razed to the ground or wholly redeveloped so that it can never again be used to cage a human being. It cannot stand as a testament to the devastation caused by the criminal justice system. It should instead become an example of what can be achieved by people-powered, values-driven movements that seek to keep people out of the criminal justice system and repair the harm that the system has caused in our communities.

“As the City of Philadelphia moves forward in a world without The Creek, we call on Mayor Kenney, the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, and other criminal justice stakeholders to honor the campaign’s goals of: (1) cutting the Philadelphia jail population in half to no more than 3,000; (2) ending the use of Electronic Monitoring; and, (3) reinvesting savings from facility closure and population reduction into locally-run community-based reentry programming.

“Simply put, we continue to demand that Mayor Kenney work with us as we build toward a future in which all Philadelphians can live in a city defined by healing and freedom.”

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