Statement of Purpose

The following goals are taken from the Human Rights Coalition – Philly Chapter. There is no need to rewrite something we think is written so well, although we made some minor changes.
  • To provide a safe place for family members of prisoners where there is no embarrassment associated with having a loved one in prison.
  • To build a coalition of prisoner's family members - because who cares more about a prisoner than his/her own mother, father, wife, husband, partner, son, daughter, or cousin.
  • To make visible to the public and end the injustice and abuse that are common practice throughout our judicial and prison system across the United States.
  • To support and work with other activist groups in the abolishment of unjust laws and practices within the prison system and justice system, for example: the death penalty, "Three-strikes" law, juvenile justice, Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) amendment, life without parole, police corruption, judicial corruption, inadequate health care in prisons, and more…
  • To abolish Solitary Confinement, an inhumane and barbaric practice.
  • To encourage the rehabilitation of prisoners. HRC understands that prisoners are human beings with problems that need to be addressed and most, in time, will return to society. The majority of prisoners are sent to prison for drug charges and acts which involve no violence whatsoever. A large number of these prisoners have led horrendous lives of drug abuse, child abuse, or neglect, in addition to impacts of racism, sexism, classism and homophobia. We as citizens should demand that the prison system focus on the rehabilitation of prisoners so that they can return to society as productive citizens with the skills needed to take care of their family.
  • To abolish the Prison Industrial Complex. The prison system is based on a foundation of exploitation, punishment and corruption. People of color make up 70 percent of the prison population. In a country with a declining economy, factories have moved overseas to exploit third world labor. 80 percent of prisoners are there for non-violent offenses (the vast majority of these drug-related), and the crime rate has been declining over the past 20 years. Women are the highest rising population in prison, and most of them are there for “crimes of survival,” committed to feed themselves and their families. Most of the people in prisons are poor, brown, urban, functionally illiterate, unemployed or under-employed before they were locked down, and are there for non-violent crimes, mostly selling or using drugs.  Economically speaking, the charge to tax payers is $35,000 per year to house a prisoner. The charge is $65,000 per year for an older inmate. It is less expensive to send a person to Harvard for a year. Private corporations such as Eddie Bauer and Microsoft employ prison slave labor. Contracts are signed with private companies to provide food and clothing to prisons. New prisons continue to be built every year and are filled. Private prisons (not state owned) are now being built. These facts are evidence that the prison complex is a booming business designed to confine "prisoners" for profit; it is a business that is disguised as "get tough on crime." Obviously, the prison system is about all the other social inequalities in our system, and it does not work in its current incarnation. HRC supports its dismantling, and building in its place a system of accountability that is truly based in the community and focuses on healing, not punishing.