On July 17, protesters were stopped from marching to the gates of Graterford Prison, outside of Philadelphia, by police, who were on horses and bikes and in cars. The marchers were protesting the state’s building of two new prisons there.
Undaunted by the police presence, demonstrators stopped in front of the Perkiomen Valley School District campus. There, they outreached to passing Route 29 traffic for more than an hour with signs that read: “Education Not Correction!” “Fund Schools not Prisons!” and “Jobs not Jails!”
The state is spending $400 million on these two new prisons, to be called SCI Phoenix East and SCI Phoenix West. One facility is for men, the other is for women. There will also be a 100-person death row wing.
Decarcerate PA, which organized the protest, issued a press release that stated: ”We believe that public money should instead be spent on quality public schools, jobs and job training, community-based re-entry services, health care and food access, drug and alcohol treatment programs, stable housing, restorative forms of justice and non-punitive programs that address the root cause of violence in our communities. Such steps are necessary to secure socially responsible, personally secure, and economically viable communities in our state.”