“Consensus-Building on Incarceration Reduction" (CBIR) Group Calls for Change Across Pennsylvania
[Philadelphia, PA]– October 16, 2019 – We are a diverse group of 27 community members, criminal justice reform advocates, professionals, students, and retirees split between Philadelphia and Adams County, PA with political views across the ideological spectrum. We have come together to build consensus on reducing incarceration because we see an opportunity to achieve a more positive social and economic impact on us, our families, and our communities.
Over six days in September and October in Philadelphia and Adams County, we aligned on a vision of increasing community safety by fostering an effective criminal justice system that is just, equitable, and that invests in our people and communities. We believe we can achieve this vision across all counties in our Commonwealth if we:
Embrace the fundamental right that all people are presumed innocent until proven guilty: people should be incarcerated only when they have been convicted of a crime.
Establish a continuum of person-oriented care from pre-arrest to arrest to release and beyond, aligning the resources of our entire communities.
Prepare for the reality that most people behind bars will ultimately re-enter society: re-entry plans should be created for all people from the first moment of contact with the justice system. Rather than using practices such as solitary confinement, we should instead emphasize restorative justice and second chances.
Ensure that people under 18 are not incarcerated in adult correctional facilities.
During our collaboration, we learned from experts on criminal justice, heard from those who have spent much of their lives behind bars, engaged with public officials, toured a correctional facility, grappled with data on incarceration rates, listened to different perspectives, shared our own experiences, and learned from each other’s direct and indirect experience with the criminal justice system.
In the coming months, we will pursue improvements such as reducing the use of cash bail so that people with less money are not incarcerated for being poor; establishing treatment and veterans courts to support rehabilitation and reduce incarceration; strengthening coordination of re-entry services to ensure successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated people into society; ensuring any community supervision such as probation and parole aims to support families and communities, and in no case exceeds the length of time of incarceration itself; and pursuing a more just fines and fees structure, including a reduction of commissary prices. We will advance our momentum through public awareness campaigns and collaboration with public officials whom we see as partners in effecting change.
Disclaimer: The statement above reflects the consensus view of the 27 "CBIR" participants listed below and not necessarily the organizations with which they are affiliated.
Adams County Media Contact: Chad Collie, Urban Rural Action, firstname.lastname@example.org Philadelphia Media Contact: Josh Alvarez, Pennsylvania Prison Society, email@example.com
“Consensus-Building on Incarceration Reduction" Program Calls for Change Across Philadelphia and Adams County, PA
[Gettysburg, PA]– September 11, 2019 – We are a diverse group of 27 community members, split between Philadelphia and Adams County, PA with direct and indirect experience with and within a criminal justice system that needs to change. We are community group leaders and justice reform advocates, professionals, students, and retirees with political views across the ideological spectrum.
We have come together to build consensus on reducing incarceration because we believe the social and economic costs of the status quo are unsustainable. In the first two days of our collaboration, we aligned on the following vision for criminal justice reform, a reality we intend to pursue through upcoming convenings in Philadelphia and Adams County, public awareness campaigns, and collaboration with public officials whom we view as potential partners in effecting change. “Our goal is to increase community safety by fostering an effective criminal justice system that is just, equitable, and that invests in our people and communities. We seek a continuum of person-oriented care from pre-arrest to arrest to release and beyond, aligning the resources of our entire communities.”
Media Contact: Joseph Bubman, firstname.lastname@example.org