Saturday, June 28, 2014

Letter to NJ Senator Ron Rice: Introduce NJ Decarceration Act

The below letter was faxed to NJ Senator Ron Rice on Thursday ,July 3.  We urge all including organizations and individuals, especially those in his voting district to contact Sen. Rice yourself directly to support his introduction of a NJ Decarceration Act:

Newark, NJ 07106

PHONE NUMBER: (973) 371-5665
Fax: 973-371-6738

Dear Senator Ronald Rice,

Residents of Newark and throughout New Jersey have begun to join together to make the call for the introduction of and fight to pass a NJ Decarceration Act calling for sweeping reductions in NJ’s state prison populations.  We are sure that you have heard the statistics, how this nation has 6% of the world’s population yet holds 25% of the world’s prisoners, more than every other country on the planet.

Already, close to 1000 NJ residents have signed a petition with specific proposals as to how this can be accomplished.

As you know, calls for prison reduction are coming from every political sector including conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Rand Paul and mainstream outlets like the New York Times.   We are sure you are well aware of the racial and economic disparities of mass incarceration where it is Black, Brown and impoverished who are targeted by everything from arrest, prosecution and sentencing.  Mass incarceration devastates our family structures, our community structures and our ability to engage and struggle politically, socially and economically for better communities.  For these reasons it is of utmost importance that our communities take the lead in structuring the kind of decarceration legislation that is initiated and fought for.  We need to take the first step.

Those political leaders that step to the forefront on this issue and lead the way in the legislative struggle to bring about real and sweeping decarceration will be tomorrow’s heroes.  We need strong fighters to take up this mantle and wage this struggle – who know the law, who know how to negotiate and maneuver and know how to win.
The petition we are circulating has specific suggestions as to what can be included in such an act.  It calls for the setting of short and long term goals and makes suggestions as to measures that can be included to strive toward those goals.  Of course,, the very significant savings through massive decarceration, we are calling for those funds to be allocated toward employment and services for those being decarcerated so that they can rejoin the communities and be part of a better tomorrow for all of us.

We know in our heart that you recognize the importance of this issue and believe that you have the fight within you to figure out how to make this happen.  We are prepared to mobilize not only Newark, but all of our inner cities throughout the state.

On July 30 we will be holding a street panel discussion on this topic in the early evening in front of Newark City Hall.   We invite you to come out and learn about this issue – and if you are ready to bring the motion to the floor, we would definitely provide a platform for you to announce or talk about it at the event.  We will be making telephone contact with you shortly and are looking forward to sit down with you to discuss this effort, about how we can work together to make the NJ Decarceration Act a reality.


Veronica Branch               Milton Conway               
Cassandra Dock                 Brittani Johnson
Michael Allen Hobbs       Beautiful SeeAsia            
Ruben E. Mendez             Bob Witanek
Cynthia Flood                    Donna Jackson                
Dennis Porter                    Myra Lawson
Dawn Haynes                    Edwin Bradley

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