Monday, April 21, 2014

Decarcerate the Garden State

On May 2, 6pm, at the Fountain in New Brunswick, the corner of Livingston and George, an event entitled Community Decarceration and the Pot Issue will occur.

This event is about much more than the marijuana legalization debate, though that discussion is being utilized by our committee as a springboard to launch a much wider effort to bring about wholesale decarceration in the state of NJ . . . we want to launch an effort that effectively delivers very significant prison release across the state of New Jersey.

While we will have this face to face discussion on this topic in New Brunswick, the discussion of what kind of decarceration we want to see in the state of NJ and how should we organize toward the our goals should engage the entire state and should begin now and continue on after – in on-line forums, in community meetings and wherever such discussion is possible.

With that in mind, I pose some questions and invite you to answer either as comments under this note, in this event, or in the other forums that will be developing - or write your own notes, blogs, articles, etc. on the topic. 

You can also add your own questions to the discussions.

Did you know that while the US has 6% of the world’s population it holds 25% of the world’s prisoners and that it is the number 1 nation in incarceration rates?

Did you know that incarceration rates in the US are highest among the Black residents and citizens?

What sorts of goals and what sorts of timelines would you like to see?

What are some of the offenses do you believe that are currently resulting in prison sentences that should not?

What are some of the prosecutorial tactics that you see utilized to get longer sentencing that must stop?

What are some ideas that you believe might be a good way to immediately begin reducing the prison population? 

If you were in a place to decide, what sort of release plan would you like to see?

What do you think about the concept of prison abolition?  Do you consider yourself an abolitionist? What do you see as some of the cruel punishments that are part of incarceration in NJ?

What about juvenile incarceration and what about policing of schools?
What are the methods of resistance to incarceration should we pursue?

Street meetings?  Court House mobilizations? Outreach at prison visitation?
What types of bills should we demand?

What are some of the dynamics and reasons for mass incarceration?

What purposes does it serve?

Do you believe that mass incarceration serves a systemic purpose of upholding status quo and keeping oppressed communities from fighting off the many aspects of their oppression? How does mass incarceration affect communities?

Do you think this problem can be eliminated without fundamental changes to the economic and social sytems in place?

Are you ready to become part of an effort to fight for wholesale decarceration in the state of NJ?