Our Vision is to become a culture in which justice is equated with humanitarian values and not punishment.
Our Mission is to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment in Pennsylvania, and restore community for our incarcerated and returning citizens, by:
Our meetings in 2021 are usually on 1st and 3rd Thursdays each month, 7:00pm via Zoom, but check our calendar for updates or exceptions, or register to get on our email list, or contact us for further information.
Sponsored by POWER Lehigh Valley, and partner organizations.
- Reducing the use of jails as the only recourse for offenders
- Bringing dignity to life behind bars
- Changing minds through education and advocacy
- Building political will for criminal justice reform
Lehigh Valley - It's Time to End Mass Incarceration
Mass Incarceration by the Numbers
- We have over 2.2 million Americans in jail or prison right this second. Prior to 1970, there were fewer than 350,000 incarcerated citizens. This is an over 500% increase.
- People who are poor and people of color are disproportionally represented in our jails and prisons. The United States represents 5% of the world's population, but 25% of the world's incarcerated population, far worse than even China and Russia and other supposedly punitive nations.
- Two-thirds of local jail populations are pre-trial, still presumed innocent. Even a few days in jail can totally disrupt someone's life, causing job loss, financial hardship, family discord, and much emotional turmoil. Pretrial detention also makes them far more likely to plead guilty just to get out of jail, branding them for life with a disastrous criminal conviction.
- Such life disruptions also statistically make it more likely those persons will commit another crime. Thus we have a revolving door of incarceration in United States, with recidivism rates as high as 75% in just three to five years, all of this resulting in nearly 11 million jail admissions every year!
- The tax price tag ranges in the tens of billions, while the intangible costs in terms of destruction of lives is incalculable. A Washington University study estimates an overall societal cost of $1.2 trillion per year, about 6% of our annual GDP.
- Bryan Stevenson has said that the opposite of poverty is justice. Indeed, poverty begets crime, but crime and incarceration also begets more poverty. In the process our nation is diminished economically and spiritually. We must stop this vicious cycle!
 U.S. incarceration: www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2019.html and www.pewresearch.org.
 U.S. incarceration history: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_rate and www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/00-05_REP_PunishingDecade_AC.pdf
 Poverty and race: www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/income.html, and www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/incomejails.html.
 U.S./ World incarceration rates: www.apa.org/monitor/2014/10/incarceration.
 Pretrial detention: www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/jailsovertime.html, and www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/incomejails.html.
 Recidivism rate: www.nij.gov/topics/corrections/recidivism/;
Jail admissions: www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5872
 Cost of incarceration: source.wustl.edu/2016/09/cost-incarceration-u-s-1-trillion/.
 Bryan Stevenson: www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=3072.