PHILADELPHIA, PA – On Friday April 26, the #CLOSEthecreek Campaign to decarcerate Philadelphia held a press conference and rally at City Hall to commemorate one-year and highlight current demands. In the past year, Philadelphians directly impacted by decades of community disinvestment, neglect, incarceration, parole and probation — have led the #CLOSEthecreek campaign to completely change the conversation on decarcerating Philadelphia prisons. #CLOSEthecreek advocates, allies and partners secured closure of the House of Corrections, within months of launching the campaign.
Advocates now seek reinvestment dollars, access to properties and oversight over the resources allocated to their neighborhoods. The #CLOSEthecreek campaign believes communities have the ability to determine their own transformation with access to city resources.
Speakers at the press conference included formerly-incarcerated community members who have spent time in Philly jails, juvenile lifers, criminal justice reform advocates, and Philadelphians who want to build thriving communities.
The #CLOSEthecreek campaign is working to move forward demands to:
- Decarcerate without the use of risk assessment algorithms and the expansion of electronic monitors; and
- Secure community reinvestment needed to develop communities that have been decimated by crime, violence, addiction, neglect, unemployment and mass incarceration.
“We are here to demand that poor people, people of color, and all marginalized communities are no longer neglected while the city gentrifies their communities,” said Reuben Jones, #CLOSEthecreek campaign coordinator. “Mass incarceration stripped away billions of dollars from indigenous communities, we are demanding that the savings from decarceration be invested back into those communities. There is not a shortage of resources in Philadelphia, there is only a lack of prioritizing poor black and brown communities. We are here to expose the hypocrisy.”
The #CLOSEthecreek campaign was launched in March 2018 by JustLeadershipUSA. Led by directly-impacted individuals, the #CLOSEthecreek campaign has four demands: permanently close the House of Correction facility, cut the local prison population in half to no more than 3,000 people, end electronic monitoring, and reinvest savings in locally-run, community-based services for returning community members. Campaign partners include The Center for Returning Citizens (TCRC), Frontline Dads, Youth Art Self-Empowerment Project (YASP), Healing Communities, Mothers in Charge, Philadelphia Student Union, The National Workforce Opportunity Network (NWON), X-Offenders for Community Empowerment and Women’s Center for Carceral Empowerment. Learn more at www.justleadershipusa.org/closethecreek/. Follow us at @CLOSEthecreek & facebook.com/CLOSEthecreek/.