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News ::
Against the American Correctional Association: Aug. 10-12
04 Aug 2001
A diverse coalition of groups has come together to organize grassroots opposition to the annual meeting of the ACA in Philadelphia. This August, local activists will host a convergence of ex-prisoners, families of prisoners, activists, and concerned citizens to protest the expansion of our country's racist prison industry. This convergence will include an educational counter conference (August 10-12), permitted demonstrations, street theater and direct action.
What is the ACA?

The number of prisoners in the United States has quadrupled in the last twenty years. With over two million people behind bars, the U.S. now has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This trend particularly targets people of color; one in three Black men between 20 and 29 years old are currently either incarcerated, paroled, or on probation. In contrast to commonly held images of criminals, two thirds of prisoners are serving time for nonviolent crimes. Punishment has replaced reform as prison education programs have been cut, drug rehabilitation has been defunded, and recidivism rates continue to grow. Yet taxpayers pay more to incarcerate these people yearly than it would cost to send each of them to Harvard University. The phenomenal profits secured by the corporations involved with every aspect of the corrections industry do not, in the eyes of many citizens, justify this process.

From August 11 through August 15, the members of the American Correctional Association (ACA), many of whom are securing large profits for themselves by contracting their wares and services to prisons, will hold their annual conference in Philadelphia. The ACA is a group that bills itself as "the oldest supplier of correctional goods and services in the United States." It serves as an umbrella group for all organizations doing business in, around and with prisons. From the corporations that contract prison labor and pay prisoners as little as 19 cents an hour, to the prison HMOs often sued for medical neglect, to lobbying groups advocating for longer sentences, to the Department of Corrections officials involved at all levels of the prison system, to the companies who provide the poison and needle for executions, all willing participants in the industry will be represented at the ACA's annual congress this August in Philadelphia.

A diverse coalition of groups has come together to organize grassroots opposition to the annual meeting of the ACA in Philadelphia. This August, local activists will host a convergence of ex-prisoners, families of prisoners, activists, and concerned citizens to protest the expansion of our country's racist prison industry. This convergence will include an educational counter conference (August 10-12), permitted demonstrations, street theater and direct action.

More info from The Defenestrator: More on the ACA |
The Prison Industrial Complex is Coming to Philly |
Ending the Power of Capital Over Life |
Proudly Continuing the Heritage of Slavery |
What is the Prison Industrial Complex? |
Women and Prison

For more information on the Criminal Injustice System, see the www.STOPtheACA.org/about.


CA-ACA Counter Conference

The Counter Conference will take place August 10-12, 2001:

Against the ACA
Toward alternative solutions to mass incarceration

Friday PM Gathering at the Drake Theatre
Program begins at 9am on Saturday and 11:30am on Sunday at the Arch Street Meetinghouse
Directions, Childcare

Friends,

As our city hosts the members and partners of the American Correctional
Association -- many of whom are securing large profits for themselves by
contracting their wares and services to prisons -- Philadelphia activists will host
a grassroots convergence of ex-offenders, families of prisoners, activists, and
concerned citizens. We will use this opportunity to counter the perceived
consensus that more prisons and more force is the only solution to the crime
problem. Together, we will strategize on how to implement alternative,
rehabilitative, and community-based measures to end all violence and
exploitation.

Why a Counter Conference?


The Counter Conference is a coalition effort by grassroots organizations to
promote networking, education and collaborative action within the communities
around one of the most pertinent human rights issues in our society today: the
out of control growth of an unjust and ineffective prison and criminal justice
system. Through collaborative workshops and discussions, we will educate each
other, debunk myths about crime and prisons, empower collaboration and action,
and prepare to challenge the American Correctional Association and all who
generate profit through injustice.

Who is this for?


This is not a conference for book-experts. If you've been caught up in the
criminal injustice system, then you are the expert. Come share your story and
talk with others that are working to resist this system. At this gathering we
will discuss what the real agenda should be in terms of seeking justice and
peace in our communities.


What is planned?

We will gather together on Friday evening to envision a society free of
oppressive and unjust prisons. On Saturday, the focus will be on building a
grassroots alliance in Philadelphia around criminal justice issues. On Sunday,
we will turn to the week ahead and address how to respond to the ACA's presence
in our city. An evening plenary will conclude each day, allowing us to bring
proposals to the group so we can more forward in unity and solidarity.

Full Schedule:


August 10, 2001: Friday Evening

Opening-Freedom Fest at the Drake. A collage of dance, puppet
theatre, song, and spoken word featuring Spiral Q, Melissa Whaley, K.O.T., Seeds
of Wisdom, and Tamara Xavier. Reception with an exhibit of work made by
prisoners and information from activist organizations begins at 7pm; show
begins promptly at 8pm. The Drake Theatre is located at 15th and Spruce
Streets. Free of charge and open to the public.

August 11, 2001: Saturday


8:30am: Breakfast
9:30am: Opening Plenary: The Prison Industrial Complex & Criminal Injustice. With Christian Parenti and William Nieves
11:30-1:00pm: Workshop Session #1

Intro to the Prison Industrial Complex -- The Prison Moratorium Project
Teaching about the Death Penalty and Criminal Injustice
Political Mobilization: Legislation, Policy, and Voter Empowerment
Using art to empower and energize community organizing
Human Rights Abuses in U.S. Prisons
The Birth of the Prison: Critical Tour of Eastern State Penitentiary

1:00-2:00pm: Lunch
2:00-3:30pm: Workshop Session #2

Police Brutality in Philadelphia -- old and new
Education, Not Incarceration: resisting juvenile INjustice in Philadelphia
Crime Prevention: Community-Based Solutions
Grassroots Investigation of the Criminal Injustice System
Sex Workers & the Criminalization of Prostitution

3:45-5:15pm: Workshop Session #3

Coalition Building Across Race & Class: Accountability Within the Movement
Community-Based Solutions: Rehabilitation, Reentry, and Restorative Justice
Interfaith Roundtable on Criminal Justice Organizing
Jailhouse Lawyers: Who they are, what they do, and how we can help
Roundtable on support groups for family members of incarcerated loved ones
INS Detention & Asylum Seekers

5:30-6:30pm: Dinner
6:30-8:30pm: Plenary: Building a grassroots alliance in Philadelphia on prison and criminal justice issues. With Russell Shoates, Michael Coard, Ewuare Osayande, and Patricia Clark Twilight: Prison Films in Clark Park sponsored by the IAC

August 12, 2001: Sunday

9:30am: Critical Tour of Eastern State Penitentiary
10:00am: Friends Meeting (guests welcome)
11:30-1:00pm: Workshop Session #4

Perspectives on the Prison Industrial Comple
PHILADELPHIA STORY: MOVE and Mumia
Targeting Corporations that Profit off Prisons
Legal Training: Know Your Rights / The Myth of Our Rights
Prison Visitation and Prisoner Support Programs

1:00-2:00pm: Lunch

Affinity Group Caucuses

2:00-3:30pm: Workshop Session #5

ACA FOCUS Part 1: The Role of the ACA in the Prison Industrial Complex
PHILADELPHIA STORY: Ex-Prisoners and Experimentation at Holmseburg
Women, Violence, and Prison
PRE-ACTION EDUCATION: Direct Action Against the Death Penalty
Direct Action from the Inside: Strikes, slowdowns, and other prisoner resistance
Prisons Today: Jewish Responses, Jewish Responsibilities, [Located at Beth Ahavah, 8 Leticia Street between Front & 2nd and Market & Chestnut.]

3:455:15pm: Workshop Session #6

ACA FOCUS Part 2: Roundtable on our demands for the ACA
PRE-ACTION EDUCATION: Medical Neglect & Prison Health Services, ACT UP
Community monitoring of prison conditions and policy
The Drug War's Casualties
Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience
Aging in Prison

5:306:30pm: Dinner
6:308:30pm: Plenary: Building our Demands for the ACA. With Dan Cahill and Ramona Africa

Ongoing and Unscheduled Events:

Props Building
Decentralized Vigils organized by the PA Abolitionists Religious Organizing Chapter
Film: "Corrections." Time TBA
Breakout Caucuses -- time and place TBA (attempts will be made not to overlap):

People of Color Caucus
Youth Caucus
Jewish Caucus
Labor Caucus
Queer Caucus
Others added as needed





Some of the workshops are planned as panel discussions, and have room for
additional presenters, so if you are knowledgeable and active around any of the
issues below, please contact us as soon as possible at 215-724-6120, and we
will do our best to hook you in. Additionally, all the workshops will be
discussion oriented, so everyone will get a chance to contribute.

How much will it cost?

We are asking for a sliding scale donation between $5 and $20. Please pay what
you can according to how much of the events you attend. No one will be turned
away for lack of funds. If you can pay more than $20, please do so to assist
others who cannot. This effort is entirely volunteer-run and donation-funded.

For more information, call 215-724-6120. If no one is there, you can leave a
message in box #3.


The people who profit from prisons have names and addresses.
The name is the American Correctional Association.
This August, that address will be Philadelphia.
www.STOPtheACA.org
See also:
http://www.stoptheaca.org
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