Monday, May 28, 2012

Philadelphia Protest Tells Governor: 'Shut Prisons, Not Schools!'

Protest tells Pa. guv: ‘Shut prisons, not schools!’

Published May 26, 2012 8:37 AM

Hundreds of community activists chanted and rallied outside the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce on May 15 while Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett was inside speaking before the wealthy elite of this highly segregated city.

The protesters were particularly enraged by Corbett’s massive cuts of $264 million to higher education while increasing funds for prison construction by $685 million.

Cuts totaling $319 million in general assistance statewide, $21.6 million for Philadelphia schools, and $39.6 million for Philadelphia health programs were criticized by the diverse crowd.

Because of state slashing of funds for general assistance programs and decreased business taxes, more than 400 community residential beds may be eliminated, as well as case-management services for people with chronic severe mental illness and those with substance-abuse issues.

Homeless outreach services will be reduced, while detoxification, residential-rehab inpatient and outpatient treatment may be eliminated.

Additionally, there will be a loss of hospice beds for those with AIDS; a reduction in nursing-home beds and maternal- and child-health services, including those for families with children of special needs; and cuts in prenatal care for the uninsured. These are just the cuts in services that Philadelphia will suffer because of the state’s austerity plans.

Decarcerate PA, the Teacher Action Group, the Coalition Advocating for Public Schools, ACT UP, Fight for Philly and many other groups organized the loud demonstration.

— Report and photo by Joseph Piette

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