• Tell MDCPS to Allow the People to Testify for Budget Hearings
    MDCPS is the nation's fourth largest school board district, with over 350,000 students, and is the largest employer in the county. In the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis, we all know public schools will be one of the worst hit, with severe budget cuts concurrent with over-policing policies. Join Power U in demanding that schools be sites of support and holistic student development.
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    Created by Power U Center for Social Change Picture
  • Defunding BGPD
    During our council meeting on 6/22/2020, many concerned residents commented that the city council needs to reconsider their proposed budget for The Bell Gardens Police Department. However, individuals who oppose the defunding of BGPD created a petition that was not representative of our community’s needs and concerns. Their petition received a mere twenty signatures. A problem expressed via their petition was that the Police Explorers program would be heavily impacted. However, this program receives only four-thousand dollars (to pay salaries for police officers) of the BGPD’s 15 million dollar budget. The program depends on extensive fundraisers, NOT the police budget. If funds were reasonably invested, we would be able to fund many community programs that offer a space for youth development. This petition is meant to demonstrate to the city council that many Bell Gardens residents do not support a budget that allocates 53% of our funds to BGPD. Many residents believe that we should divest (incrementally remove funding from the police budget) in our police department and invest into other resources in our community. This petition will record Bell Gardens’ community members responses to our proposed city budget and alternatives to funding.
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    Created by Estephanie Garcia Picture
  • Removing Discriminatory Hair Policies from Henrico County Schools
    Students of all colors and with all hair textures should be able to do the following at school: protect their hair and proudly wear cultural hairstyles. These policies were put in place with the ignorance of African American hair care and their enforcement criminalizes Black children and interferes with their learning.
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    Created by Naomi Davis
  • Diverse Appointments to the NJ Police Training Commission
    The violence black people experience at the hands of police, and the racial disparity in incarceration rates in NJ is cruel, intolerably high, and must end. Inclusion of African Americans on the PTC allows representation for the most adversely affected community to help shape Police training and policy statewide. It provides African Americans with influence over creating and implementing changes to end systemic racism in policing, which leads to violence, including death, and over representation in prison and jail populations.
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    Created by Rev. H William Rutherford
  • Tell D.C Leaders: We Demand Police-Free Schools!
    The same police that are killing Black people in the streets and that continue to harass Black youth in the community, are the same police that are in our schools. We cannot continue to put our youth in harms way! We demand POLICE FREE SCHOOLS! We demand an end to the school-to-prison pipeline. It is simple: Black youth in D.C have been screaming "Love Us. Don't Harm Us"- divest from police in our schools and invest in the social-emotional health and well-being of youth! D.C is the MOST POLICED jurisdiction in America and Metropolitan Police Department's largest contract is with D.C. Public Schools. MPD currently receives $25 million to police and criminalize our youth! This increases the likelihood that adolescent behavior or responses to trauma will not be met with support but further harm. 74% of Black youth will not get the support they need. Instead: - Nearly 100% of all school expulsions are of Black youth, nearly 100% of school based arrest are of youth of color - D.C. police are also responsible for harassing and handcuffing Black youth as young as 9 years old. - 60% of girls arrested in D.C are under the age of 15. - Black girls in D.C are 30 times more likely to be arrested than white youth of any gender identity. - Often girls are disciplined and referred to police for their responses to sexual violence. This creates an unsafe and unwelcoming environment for girls, and compounds the trauma that survivors of gender base violence experience. Always, but especially now, our Black youth need love, not harm! We need to ensure that our young people have what they need to learn, that our young people have increased access to mental health professionals to address the heightened trauma caused by COVID -19 and, rampant police violence and racism. We need your support to protect Black and Brown youth from further harm and to preserve their right to live and thrive!
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    Created by Samantha Davis Picture
  • #Decarcerate NE: Prevent a COVID-19 Outbreak in Nebraska Jails & Prisons
    Incarcerated and detained Nebraskans are facing a high risk for a COVID-19 outbreak. Not only are these facilities operating above 150% capacity, but people live in unsanitary spaces. It is not a question of if COVID-19 will enter these facilities, but when. “It doesn’t matter what crime you committed. This pandemic is affecting everyone,” Dominique Morgan, Executive Director of Black and Pink explains, “If you were selling a little bit of dope, it shouldn’t be a death sentence. But that’s what COVID-19 is. These people inside can’t choose to social distance. They can’t say, ‘No, you can’t touch my body and shake me down.’ They don’t get to decide who comes into their institutions. They have no autonomy over their body. Imagine going through this pandemic and the fear we have as a community. Now imagine having no power. Being Black. Being trans. You have to have empathy at this time.” Pain and violence are a virus themselves. Not only do they spread without urgent corrective action, but punishment replicates pain and violence. We have space for meeting people where they are at and for healing at home in our communities. We see them everyday. Maybe we give a smile or a nod. Put people in cages, isolated and separated from communities, and we lose their humanity. We forget they too are worthy of respect and love and life. They too have inherent value. We recognize their value. That’s why Black and Pink, along with 13 other Nebraska community organizations, joined in solidarity to demand clear and specific actions for Governor Ricketts and NDCS Director Frakes to immediately implement and reduce the impact of COVID-19 including: 1. Reducing the dangerous overcrowding conditions in NDCS facilities, including the immediate release of individuals at high risk of contracting COVID-19 2. Issuing a publicly accessible Crisis Management Plan, including accountability measures for handling an outbreak 3. Prioritizing the health and safety of currently incarcerated individuals by ensuring appropriate access to medication, prohibiting use of punitive processes, and prioritizing COVID-19 treatment at hospital settings NOT facility medical units/infirmaries. The full text of the letter can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1J0sAfQIF57WJwJ5gHw__855VSa_X0uJ9/view?usp=sharing Join us in demanding that state officials release their COVID-19 emergency response plan and share how they plan to protect the health of incarcerated Nebraskans during this health crisis! #DecarcerateNE #HealthNotHell HELP US AMPLIFY: Share this petition on Twitter (copy text): Join me and sign this petition to demand that @GovRicketts and @necorrections Director Frakes release their COVID-19 emergency response plan and take immediate action to protect incarcerated people! #DecarcerateNE #HealthNotHell https://bit.ly/2Uy7TA4 Share this petition on Facebook (copy text): I refuse to wait silently while state officials endanger the health and lives of incarcerated Nebraskans. Join me today and sign this petition to demand that Governor Ricketts and NDCS Director Frakes release their COVID-19 emergency response plan and take immediate action to protect incarcerated people! #DecarcerateNE #HealthNotHell https://bit.ly/2Uy7TA4
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    Created by J. Petersen
  • COVID-19 is A Threat to Our Youth - Tell Maryland to #BringOurKidsHome
    Maryland incarcerates hundreds of children across seven youth jails centers and six state-run youth prisons. Like adult jails and prisons, juvenile facilities are inherently high-risk environments where the disease can spread quickly. Children are housed closely together in units or dormitory-style housing, precisely the kind of conditions that have led to the closure of universities all over the country. Even in well-run facilities, the social distancing recommended by the CDC is simply impossible. In such a setting, most of what we can do to protect against the spread of the virus is detrimental to children’s well-being. DJS stopped allowing visitors weeks ago, meaning lawyers can’t visit their clients and families can’t visit their children. School and other programming is cancelled. The use of solitary confinement, which is deeply traumatizing for a child and yet, DJS is already using increased isolation in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. All of these factors not only put a child’s emotional health at risk, they also jeopardize their long-term rehabilitation. Research by health care experts shows that incarcerated populations are most at-risk during a public health crisis. COVID-19 spread quickly in enclosed spaces such as cruise ships and nursing homes and it will spread just as quickly in detention centers, prisons, and jails. Contagious viruses such as COVID-19 spread much faster in detention centers and prisons as incarcerated youth are in close quarters and sometimes in unsanitary conditions. Behind bars, youth are not able to participate in proactive measures to keep themselves safe, such as social distancing, frequently washing hands, or staying in sanitized spaces. Infection control is a challenge in these situations as incarcerated youth are often in large congregate and communal settings. Even if youth are in individual cells, ventilation is often inadequate. Further, youth jails and prisons are unlikely equipped to meet the medical needs of youth if a COVID-19 outbreak inside juvenile detention or correctional facility should occur. Youth will not have many options to stay away from other youth if they become ill and there are limited infirmary beds. If staff become ill, it will be difficult to provide care and support to youth and if lockdowns are utilized, it will only intensify virus infection rates. The J.S. Weese Carter Center was already forced to close when a vendor could no longer service the facility. To stave off a public health emergency in our juvenile jails and prisons, we must immediately and dramatically reduce the number of children who are incarcerated. For those who remain in custody, we must do all we can to protect their health, safety, and constitutional rights. To that end, we call on state and local officials to take swift action. To protect our young people, those who work in these facilities, and the broader community, we must immediately reduce the number of young people in custody as quickly as possible. We are all feeling fear and uncertainty about the future. Imagine how that terror is magnified for families separated from their children by prison bars. Our youth are the future of our nation and, recognizing that the majority of young people in detention and correctional facilities across Maryland are removed from their communities for non-violent charges and pose no threat to community safety, it is unacceptable to allow children to be separated from their families during this global crisis. No one is sure when this crisis will end. But we know that most kids grow out of delinquent behavior without any system involvement. It's time for Maryland to give young people a chance and #BringOurKidsHome.
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    Created by Jenny Egan
  • Kym Worthy-COVID-19 Demands
    The decarceral guidelines below are designed to prevent three things: social spreading, jail “churn,” and the deaths of vulnerable people. Social Spreading In order to prevent the rapid growth of COVID-19 from overburdening our health-care system and claiming lives, both those in secure facilities and the people who work in them, it is the responsibility of decision-makers at every level to prevent and contain the spread of the virus by taking action to promote the most effective strategy in abating the pandemic: social distancing in order to slow “community spread.” The Particular Issue of Jail and Prison “Churn” Jails and Prisons combine the worst aspects of a cruise ship and a large public gathering and, thus, can be the perfect breeding ground for the spread of COVID-19. People are constantly booked into and out of jail and prison facilities and each night guards, vendors, and other jail staff are going home while others are coming in- which results in a massive turnover. For example, more than half of the people in jail are only in there for two to three days. Further, enclosed structures like jails can cause COVID-19 to spread like wildfire and introducing just one person with it can lead to it impacting not just everyone inside the jail or prison but anyone leaving the facility—whether a person who is released or staff returning back to their homes— who then interact with their communities. Preventive Measures Cannot Be Taken in Jails and Prisons. Experts recommend that to protect the people most vulnerable from death or serious illness from COVID-19 that they are appropriately separated through social distancing. Yet separating sick people from well people to prevent the disease from spreading can be nearly impossible in prison due to logistical considerations.
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    Created by Nicholas Buckingham
  • Michigan Covid-19 Statewide Immediate Release of Vulnerable incarcerated People
    Covid-19 presents a threat to human life. We believe all human life is valuable, and are ensuring that those most at risk, like incarcerated individuals, are being granted the relief necessary to protect themselves and their families. The particularly vulnerable incarcerated community members and those currently being impacted by the system need support in this moment and not continued trauma. Action is crucially important now to avoid public health mishaps like the scabies outbreak at Huron Valley Prison in 2019. Now more than ever, we need transformative criminal justice action to limit the damage that the system can do during the pandemic outbreak.
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    Created by Tim Christensen
  • COVID-19: Los Angeles Must Immediately Release People from the County Jails!
    We are not alone in recognizing this crisis of criminalization and incarceration here in Los Angeles and how COVID19 will exacerbate that crisis. Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the recommendations outlined in the Alternatives to Incarceration Working Group’s historic and unprecedented report, “Care First, Jails Last: Health and Racial Justice Strategies for Safer Communities.” Shortly thereafter, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas published a letter outlining his concerns about COVID19’s spreads to the LA jails and calling for a reduction in jail bookings, early release, plans for quarantine and treatment, concerted efforts to reduce virus transmission and a plan for expected staffing shortages. We are also not alone in calling for significant and timely steps towards decarceration. On Saturday, March 14, Judges from the Cleveland, Ohio’s Cuyahoga County Court announced their intention to seek the release of hundreds of people incarcerated in their county jails. Like us, these judges recognize that jails pose threats to our larger community and the incarcerated people themselves. On Tuesday, March 17, the New York City Board of Corrections, the independent oversight Board for the city’s jail system, issued a call for incarcerated people at high risk to be immediately released and for the overall jail population to be rapidly and drastically reduced. Also on Tuesday, March 17, thirty one elected prosecutors from around the country, but not from Los Angeles, published a letter advocating that counties “implement concrete steps in the near-term to dramatically reduce the number of incarcerated individuals” to prevent the potentially “catastrophic” spread of COVID19. We also join epidemiologists in warning that it is not a matter of if COVID19 enters your facility -- but when. For these reasons, we demand that you, as correctional health care leaders, do your part. We ask that you: 1) Prepare a list of your incarcerated patients who are most medically vulnerable and who require immediate release. We demand that you prepare that list within one week, notify the public that the list has been made available to correctional authorities, the courts and city/state leaders, and advocate for their early release with linkages to housing and healthcare services. 2) Use the legal authority granted to you to declare COVDI19 a liable danger to those currently held in the county jails and advocate for their immediate release to safe and meaningful housing. 3) Identify, coordinate and provide the services incarcerated people need upon their release (e.g. HIV care for those who are HIV+, substance use treatment centers for those with substance use disorders, homes and shelters for those who are houseless, etc) to ensure their ongoing protection from this epidemic. The County should use the recently approved recommendations from the Alternatives to Incarceration Working Group to build infrastructure that addresses and also outlives this emergency to achieve our shared goal of reducing the jail population.
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    Created by Mark-Anthony Clayton-Johnson
  • Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 by Decarcerating Mecklenburg
    Dear local leaders: As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, we – a coalition of concerned organizations, attorneys, and community members – urge you to undertake all possible measures to prevent the spread of infection in Mecklenburg County’s jails. An outbreak of COVID-19 in the jails would be swift and deadly, and it would overwhelm the county’s hospitals and health system. The next week is crucial to limiting COVID-19’s spread. Now is the time for decisive emergency measures to save lives. COVID-19 poses severe risks whenever people are in close physical proximity with others, regardless of whether an individual has shown symptoms of infection. People in jail are unable to distance themselves from others and take the preventative measures that are necessary to prevent infection and protect the population. Worse, jails are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks because the underlying health conditions that can cause infection or exacerbate harm are very prevalent among incarcerated people. This will make the spread of COVID-19 inside jails fast and lethal, threatening everyone incarcerated in a jail, along with their loved ones, jail staff, and the state’s public health infrastructure at large. The safest way to ensure that the jail does not become a vector for COVID-19’s spread is to cut the jail population and halt new admissions. This is particularly imperative for anyone who a judge has already approved for release pending payment of money bail; anyone detained under an ICE hold; and anyone detained for a Failure to Appear or parole/probation violations. Release is also crucial for those who are elderly or have medical conditions that make them particularly vulnerable. In contrast to reducing jail populations, restrictive measures such as segregation and lockdowns will not contain infection. In a county jail, people are incarcerated for a relatively short period of time before returning to the outside community, and every day new people are booked into the facility if law enforcement continue making arrests. Jail staff necessarily come and go everyday as well, returning to their families and communities. This constant turnover will compromise any effort to contain COVID-19, especially since people may be infected and contagious but not show symptoms. Restrictive measures inside could also discourage incarcerated people from reporting symptoms or seeking care, which will multiply infection. Reducing the jail population is consistent with the county sheriff’s obligation to safely manage county jail populations and the guidance of correctional experts. Dr. Marc Stern, who served as Health Services Director for Washington State’s Department of Corrections, recently urged: “With a smaller population, prisons, jails, and detention centers can help diseases spread less quickly by allowing people to better maintain social distance.” Dr. Stern also explained that reducing the jail population will ease staffing burdens: “If staff cannot come to work because they are infected, a smaller population poses less of a security risk for remaining staff.” Jurisdictions across the country have already started taking the important public health measure of reducing their jail population. The Bail Project has worked to provide free bail assistance to people detained pretrial in the Mecklenburg County Jail. Since its tenure in Charlotte began in August 2019, the organization has posted bail for over 200 people, of which more than 90% then returned to court without any need for detention, even though their bail amount would otherwise have kept them incarcerated. We know from this experience that reducing the jail population to protect public health will be safe, lawful, and just. Every time the county introduces another person to the jail environment, there is a risk of worsening the spread of COVID-19 among the incarcerated population, jail staff, and the broader community. We urge you to undertake all possible avenues for limiting that peril and preventing deaths across the community. Signed, The ACLU of NC Global Missions of the A.M.E. Zion Church The Bail Project Beauty After the Bars Black Treatment Advocates Network (BTAN Charlotte) Project BOLT Charlotte Uprising Comunidad Colectiva Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office Poor No More Racial Justice Engagement Group of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte Southeast Asian Coalition Court Support Services Team TRU BLUE
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    Created by Decarcerate Mecklenburg
  • Josh Shapiro: Stop Condemning Rehabilitated People to Die in Prison at The Board of Pardons
    Attorney General Josh Shapiro is one of five members of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and is the main road block to freedom for rehabilitated people who are trying to come home after decades of incarceration. AG Josh Shapiro has cast himself as a forward-thinking Attorney General who supports innovative approaches to criminal justice and is part of the #resistance to the Trump administration. The Board of Pardons plays a crucial role in Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system--allowing people serving life and other long term sentences to be released after they’ve been rehabilitated. Sadly, AG Shapiro has repeatedly blocked the Board from fulfilling this function by being the most frequent ‘no’ vote against rehabilitated people who present no risk to society. Josh Shapiro has voted against people whose prison wardens came to testify for them. He has voted against people who had the support of the victims family. He has voted against people with serious health conditions and little time left to live. Many of the people who Josh Shapiro has voted against are elderly prisoners who languish in prisons at a tremendous cost to society. Many are people who have turned their lives around after many years of incarceration and take part in productive and positive efforts from behind prison walls. Some are members of faith communities. All of them are someone’s child, friend, parent, or beloved family member. AG Josh Shapiro cannot claim the mantle of a forward thinking attorney general and be the main road block to freedom at the Board of Pardons. We call on Mr Shapiro to keep the Board of Pardons functioning as it was designed to by voting in favor of the reformed citizens that the Chair and other members of the Board recognize as worthy of mercy and release. If the Chair of the Board of Pardons, Lieutenant Governor Fetterman, is voting in favor of someone we see no reason why AG Shapiro should be the one to deny them. We call on Josh Shapiro to stop upholding the practice of mass incarceration and support the release of those who have paid their debt to society.
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    Created by Kris Henderson Picture