1,000 signatures reached
To: Minnesota Legislature
No New Prisons In Minnesota
We call on the Minnesota legislature to reject any proposal to open a new private or public prison or expand existing prisons.
Why is this important?
Crime in Minnesota is at a 50-year-low. Yet our prison population is at an all-time high after years of unnecessary jail time for victimless crimes through sentencing practices that disproportionately target Black and Native American people.
In response to the boom in our prison population, some Minnesota lawmakers have proposed opening a prison in Appleton, Minnesota. Under their current proposal, the prison would line the pockets of Corrections Corporation of America, a for-profit prison company with a long history of abuses.
The proposal to allow CCA, whose business model is to profit off of the imprisonment of Black and brown bodies, to operate in Minnesota adds insult to injury. But Minnesota doesn’t need ANY new prisons, whether privately or publicly owned.
Minnesota’s systemic imprisonment of Black and brown people is interwoven in every part of our worst-in-the-nation racial disparities. We must address the root causes of poverty and education and policing disparities that result in high rates of imprisonment, as well as access to housing, jobs, and voting rights for people with criminal records. Our tax dollars should be interrupting the cycle of our racial disparities and addressing the root causes, not exacerbating them with more prison beds.
The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission has proposed a series of common sense sentencing reforms for low-level drug offenses that will reduce the need for 560 prison beds, and additional sentencing reforms could eliminate the need for hundreds more. The legislature should adopt these reforms and consider this the beginning of a conversation for how we can reduce our prison population, not increase it.
Instead of adding new prison beds, the Minnesota legislature must prioritize reducing our prison population and giving our communities the support we need to thrive.