Jobs Not Jails
by Olivia Chow | May 6, 2014 3:53 pm
Last week, through the cold and the rain, the Jobs Not Jails coalition sent a strong message to their state of Massachusetts—redirect $2 billion for new prison beds to a real solution: investment in job creation.
On Saturday, April 26, over 2,000 people gathered at the Boston Commons to call for change. The Jobs Not Jails coalition, led by Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement (EPOCA), has over 126 coalition partners including the Boston Workers Alliance.
Faith leaders, elected officials, candidates, youth organizers and formerly incarcerated community members spoke to the crowd about the minimum wage, youth jobs, diversion to treatment for addiction, elimination of mandatory sentencing minimums, immigration detention, stop & frisk policies, bail reform and pre-trail services.
While the rally was considered a great success, the action did not end there. On April 30th, the coalition took its action to the State House. With the support of over 75 volunteers, the Jobs Not Jails coalition delivered the voices of the 46,000+ individuals who signed this petition demanding a change in legislative priorities. Pages of the petition were stapled to large orange banners that wrapped the State House while other volunteers delivered copies of the petition and The New Jim Crow, a bestselling book on mass incarceration in the U.S., to each of the legislative offices inside.
The Jobs Not Jails made it very clear that they are organized for justice, rain or shine. The coalition has built a strong base of supporters who will continue to fight for civil rights and criminal justice reform. Join in the fight; follow the Jobs Not Jails coalition on Facebook & Twitter.