Pa. prison protesters plan rally in Harrisburg

    About 50 anti-prison activists from the group Decarcerate PA are finishing up a 10-day march from Philadelphia to Harrisburg to protest Pennsylvania’s plan for new prisons.

    The two-prison construction project in Montgomery County would replace an older facility.

    The marchers intend to rally Monday at the state Capitol building.

    Marching with the group is Malissa Gamble, who says she spent 15 months in a state prison for burglary and other crimes a decade ago.The state needs better prison programs on parenting, job training, and housing to help inmates transition back into their communities much more than new facilities, she said.

    “And I’m not saying they all are not there. I’m saying that I have been a witness to them not being there,” Gamble said. “Or either they are so outdated that they don’t exist. I think the money that (Gov.) Tom Corbett is using to build those jails would be better served providing programs that are usable.”

    A spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections points out the agency has female inmates and their eventual reintegration into society in mind.

    The new Montgomery County prisons will include a unit for female inmates from the Philadelphia area. In the past, women were sent farther from their communities, to prisons in Lycoming and Crawford counties.

    Decarcerate PA has been protesting the state’s prison construction plan for nearly two years.

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