Protest of Graterford Prison Expansion Scheduled for Tuesday
The protest seeks to raise awareness of the $400 million Graterford Prison expansion at a time when the state is cutting budgets elsewhere.
Members of the Decarcerate Pennsylvania movement will once again take aim at Governor Corbett on Tuesday afternoon, as a planned protest seeks to raise awareness to the $400 million Graterford Prison expansion at a time when state funding for education and health services is on the decline.
"Governor Corbett just began construction of two new prisons on the grounds of SCI Graterford in Montgomery County," reads a recent posting on the DecarceratePA Web site. "Meanwhile, Corbett has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from education, environmental protection, homeowners assistance, and healthcare and mental health services."
As previously reported by Patch, the construction project at Graterford will establish two new prison facilities on the already existing grounds, which will be called SCI Phoenix East and West. The new facilities will include a men's maximum-security wing, similar to what is already in place, plus a capital case unit and a low security women's transition unit. The current building will be "mothballed," as officials have previously stated it would be too costly to tear down the 80-year-old structure.
According Decarcerate Pennsylvania's mission statement, the $400 million in funding for the new facility would be better spent elsewhere.
"We believe that public money should instead be spent on quality public schools, jobs and job training, community-based reentry 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," reads a "Who We Are" statement on their Web site. "Such steps are necessary to secure socially responsible, personally secure, and economically viable communities in our state."
The protest is scheduled to occur at 4 p.m. at the intersection of Route 29 and Graterford Road, which is the location of the prison entrance. Though the amount of expected protesters is unknown at this time, the movement experienced a high turnout for a May 15 protest of Governor Corbett during his visit to the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
Efforts to reach the group's press contact, Hakim Ali, for comment were unsuccessful.