Protesters target Pa. prison spending, expansion

Several dozen demonstrators rallied in Center City Philadelphia Wednesday, protesting Pennsylvania’s increased prison spending amid cuts in education.

“Several states have moved to implement various alternatives to incarceration and have moved to close down prisons,” said Dan Berger, a member De-Carcerate PA, a prison reform and education advocacy group.

“Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is trying to build new prisons and trying to add thousands of more people to its prison system,” he said. “We know that that’s the wrong way to go.”

Pennsylvania’s fiscal year 2012 budget, which Gov. Tom Corbett signed in June, calls for $1.5 billion in funding for brick-and-mortar correctional institutions, up 0.5 percent from last year. There are plans for construction of two prisons.

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The budget allocates $10 billion for education, down 9 percent from last year. That includes cuts to basic education, charter schools and state-run and state-related universities.

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