Pennsylvania — The past few years have laid bare what many already know: our criminal justice system is broken and we can’t rely on politicians at the county level to fix it. Last year in Allegheny County, we witnessed what’s possible when people came together with the Alliance for Police Accountability and ended solitary confinement in their county jail. This year, PA Stands up Chapters NEPA Stands Up and Lehigh Valley Stands Up affirmed that we would do the same to end solitary confinement in Lehigh and Lackawanna Counties.
In Lackawanna County we saw a victory unlike any in recent history. Nearly 9,000 registered Lackawanna county voters signed our petition to give voters a choice to End Solitary Confinement in our jail. They signed because, like all Pennsylvanians, they agreed that no matter where we come from, the color of our skin, or how much we earn, we all deserve to live with safety and dignity. Those signatures were turned in to the county election board Tuesday morning.
The next step for our community will be to Get Out The Vote in November and connect with thousands more Lackawanna voters that have the power to end this barbaric torture.
NEPA Stands Up invites the community to Solidarity Saturday at Love Road in Scranton every weekend in August to find out more.
While we worked on this initiative in Lackawanna, we were also engaged in a twin struggle in Lehigh County. Our canvassers, staff, and volunteers worked tirelessly to obtain the needed signatures and succeeded in collecting over 5,000 signatures from voters to end solitary confinement in Lehigh County. It was not enough signatures to get the question on the ballot, but this effort shows the true initiative and power of what Lehigh County voters want; dignity for our incarcerated neighbors.
Lehigh Valley Stands Up members will continue to advocate against torture, and for Lehigh County to report the numbers of people experiencing solitary.
For more information, or to interview volunteers or staff involved in these efforts, please contact Ashleigh Strange, Director of Communications and Narrative, at firstname.lastname@example.org.