Decarcerate PA march & rally
5 Apr 2012

entering Love Park

Carrying out the proposed march & rally. This was the march as it came into Love Park.

Mildly annoyed to find out from a British newspaper that our current Miss America has adopted the issue of prison reform as the central focus of her "reign." I found the following paragraph grimly hilarious:

...she announced that rather than using her position to champion a nebulous cause like world peace, she would be focusing any attention that comes her way on what has become a very American problem, the growing number of children who have lost a parent to prison.

more arrivals

To be fair, People Magazine did cover her favored issue, but only as the third item in a five-item list of "Fun Facts" in an introduction to her. The British Daily Mail also focussed on her issue.

The brunette, who won the Miss America crown and $50,000 scholarship on Saturday night in Las Vegas, said there were more than 2million children in the U.S. with a parent in jail.

Her father, Jeff Kaeppeler, said he served 18 months in federal prison for mail fraud as his daughter was graduating from high school and going on to college.

Laura said: 'There are many of you out there - and I was one of them - but it doesn't have to define you."


A chilling paragraph from the beginning of a piece comparing Jim Crow to today's mass incarcerations:

In the five decades since African Americans won their civil rights, hundreds of thousands have lost their liberty. Blacks now make up a larger portion of the prison population than they did at the time of Brown v. Board of Education, and their lifetime risk of incarceration has doubled. As the United States has become the world’s largest jailer and its prison population has exploded, black men have been particularly affected. Today, black men are imprisoned at 6.5 times the rate of white men.

The piece concludes that the analogy of Jim Crow to today's mass incarceration of black men holds true in a number of ways, but the analogy is seriously flawed in other ways and should be used with great care and precision if it's used at all.

our two main speakers

A local paper in Nashua NH commented on a disturbing fact about New Hampshire, that the state has "one of the nation's lowest crime rates" but "has one of the nation’s highest per-capita rates for jailing Latinos."

The higher incarceration rate for minorities can stem from a number of factors, such as policy set by legislatures, stepped-up policing in communities and neighborhoods with large minority populations and decisions made by people in the criminal justice system, said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project.

another speaker
media mobiizing
another speaker

Speakers at the rally.

Fareed Zakaria of CNN pointed to statistics that

...760 of every 100,000 Americans is incarcerated, more than seven times the incarceration rates for most European countries. Those high incarceration rates have forced states across the country to spend more on prisons than they do on education.


The audience for the rally was small but appreciative. Two major soures for the issue of excessive incarceration are DecarceratePA and The Sentencing Project.