Caravan Protests Demand ‘Decarcerate Now!’

| Resist!

Above photo: From B101 Philly Radio.

A broad coalition of prison abolition activists took to Philadelphia’s streets in over 120 cars—most with just one occupant—to demand officials massively decarcerate jails, prisons and detention centers in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Four separate car caravans—decorated with signs and banners—circled City Hall, the Criminal Justice Center, Gov. Tom Wolf’s Philadelphia office and the federal court building near the Liberty Bell. 

Sarah Morris with the #No215Jail Coalition stated:  “It is completely unacceptable that elected officials have not taken sufficient steps to release people in Philadelphia’s prisons, jails, and detention centers.”  Morris, who also represents the Youth Art and Self Empowerment Project, continued: “Their inaction is putting thousands of incarcerated people, workers and their family members at extreme and unnecessary risk. We took to the streets today to say we are not going to let Pennsylvania leave our incarcerated loved ones behind.”

City officials admit there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their jail population. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announced their first confirmed positive COVID diagnosis in the state system. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also revealed it has a confirmed case in custody. 

After first targeting four separate sites, the 120 vehicles converged on City Hall. For half an hour, after circling around the building, with drivers honking horns, cars then blocked several lanes on the north side of the building. 

Police, at the order of Philadelphia’s new Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, responded by placing $76 “double parked” tickets on each vehicle’s windshield. None of the officers involved, including Outlaw, wore protective gloves or observed social distancing, essentially putting anyone receiving these tickets at risk. 

Drivers silenced their horns so that demands could be read by two activists standing on top of a car. Protesters want Mayor Jim Kenney to release pretrial people, grant parole, lift detainers, end cash bail and prioritize the release for youth, elderly people and people who are medically vulnerable. 

They want Philadelphia’s First Judicial District Court of Pennsylvania to immediately implement a process to allow mass release of people incarcerated in the city’s jails and juvenile detention centers.

They also call on Gov. Wolf to release people in state prisons by expediting parole processes, releasing elderly and medically vulnerable people, and taking other common sense measures. They demanded Wolf stop ICE from unlawfully detaining immigrants—including children—at the Berks County Detention Center. 

The #No215Jail Coalition includes Abolitionist Law Center, ACLU-PA, Amistad Law Project, Black Alliance for Peace, Black and Brown Workers Co-op, Black Lives Matter Philly, Decarcerate PA, Frontline Dads, Just Leadership, LILAC, Movement Alliance Project, Philadelphia Bail Fund, Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, Reclaim Philadelphia, ShutDownBerks, Social Worker Action Network, Working Educators, Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project.

  • Western exceptionalism

    lol people are so silly these days. You know who goes to jails? Criminals.

    You want to release criminals? I am glad those guys are a small minority. I dont want pedophiles, criminals and thieves released, I am glad this type of silly “Americanism” has not reached Greece yet.

  • Richard

    Sadly, there are not that many real Americans left in the U.S., at least not enough to make a difference anymore. The U.S. does not promote peace, unity, humanity, etc, our military supported by the government that was elected by the majority of idiots is on constant recon for new resources to plunder the world over, no matter the price in lives of the grunts or the innocents killed in the process. Besides, we have enough crooks and criminals loose in washington now, we sure as hell don’t need anymore running around.

  • Western exceptionalism

    Also, I would say that there is no such a thing as “real American”. “Real Americans” never existed. Real Greeks, real Italians, real Germans, real Vietnamese, such concepts do not exist.

    The concepts of peace, unity, humanity, they are individual characteristics, a set of beliefs and ideals that can be held by inviduals, not by entire nations. An American can be everything you want: Peaceful, warmongerer, leftist, rightist, obese, thin, tall, short, christian, atheist, whatever. Nations do not have unique personality traits.

  • Jon

    This is so cold-hearted. Perhaps you don’t know that some are held who have not even been convicted of anything, just can’t afford bail; many others simply for having marijuana,others for petty crimes, others falsely convicted, others are sick, old, and feeble and pose negligible risk,and so on. It is far more dangerous for them and for society to be in prison than to be released.

  • Western exceptionalism

    The key word in your comment: “Some”.

    The key word in their protests: “All”.

  • kevinzeese

    Such an ignorant comment about the US prison population. US prisons are made uip of nonviolent offenders, people awaiting trial and those with technical violation of probation or parole. We could cut the prison population in half with any risk to safety.

    The US has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners because we incarcerate people who should not go to prison. Prison should be for those who are a danger to others, violent criminals. The US jails too many who do not need to be there.

  • Cab Driver xxx

    Your handle says all anyone needs to know about you.

    The only thing exceptional about “the west“ (the wealthy, white, privileged and entitled) is its exceptional capacity for greed and gluttony. From the arrival of the earliest Africans in chains, to “manifest destiny” and onward, “western exceptionalism” has been a coded, dog-whistling proxy for everything from slavery to Union busting to environmental calamity – and mass incarceration. Nations do indeed have “traits.” And this one – Amerika’s – is far worse than most others. The idea that “personal responsibility” somehow circumvents or supplants the need for nations to be held to account for its ruling-class crimes only prolongs the atonement necessary for its survival.

  • didactic1

    Pic shows sign. “Release them all?” Rapists, molesters and professional or serial killers?

  • didactic1

    So keep half locked up.

  • didactic1

    Many are there who plea bargained DOWN because DAs dont have staffs to prosecute all repeat violent offenders.

  • didactic1

    Animal Farm.

  • didactic1

    Real Americans? Let’s create a 10 billion dollar a year office in Homeland Security to figure that out. We used to have HUAC.

  • didactic1

    Real Mammals of North America.

  • didactic1

    You delivered the tired trite PC propaganda perfectly.