One of the unifying goals of the Beyond the Bricks meeting in Baltimore was to stage a rally and protest the construction of a $104 million "youth prison" in Baltimore. All three of the groups formed at the October 9th Beyond the Bricks (BTB) meeting saw this as a primary objective and united on October 31st in a rally (described below in an article in the Baltimore Sun).
This is the *first* in many efforts to block the building of Baltimore's *ninth* prison along what is infamously called "Prison Row" in Baltimore. You can see pictures of the rally on my Facebook page as well as those of the rally's chief organizer, Pastor Heber Brown who chaired the plenary session at the October 9, Beyond the Bricks meeting. Pastor Jamye Wooten, an attendee at the BTB meeting, remains one of the best documenters of social justice movements in Baltimore also has several pictures of the protest in Baltimore. YouTube has several videos of the rally at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YRuXd0G2Bw, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Pl2faRy8jk which includes State Delegate Jill Carter, a member of the plenary session at the Beyond the Bricks meeting.
On Friday, November 5th, I will be chairing a panel at the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland's Annual Retreat on Black youth incarceration. I will blog about this over the weekend.
Hundreds protest state plans to build youth jail
Rally-goers stress prevention over prosecutiony
Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun
9:11 p.m. EDT, October 31, 2010
Several hundred people gathered on Paul Laurence Dunbar High School's football field Sunday afternoon to protest state plans to build a $100 million, 230-bed detention facility in Baltimore for juveniles criminally charged as adults.
The two-hour rally culminated in a candle-lit march to the proposed construction site, a quarter-mile away next to the Baltimore City Detention Center, where protesters - chanting "educate, don't incarcerate" - used bolt-cutters to strip away the chain link fence protecting the property. Once inside, they planted yellow signs reading "Money for jobs and education, not jails" on the grounds and left books behind as a symbolic message.
"This is our property," declared Deverick Murray, vice president of programming for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, which describes itself as "Baltimore's progressive policy think tank" and helped organize the event.
Juveniles facing adult charges, typically for violent crimes, are now held in a wing of the Baltimore City Detention Center, which the U.S. Department of Justice has called inadequate. The new facility, in the works for five years, would provide a separate space to keep teens away from the adults, which corrections officials say is desperately needed. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall.
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But critics say that prosecuting teens as adults is counterproductive and that the money spent on a detention facility would be better used on prevention programs. A report released earlier this month by the Just Kids Partnership, made up of youth and legal advocacy organizations, found that trying children as adults teaches them to become more violent, subjects them to physical and sexual abuse, and unfairly targets African-Americans.
"All the evidence, all the data, suggest it doesn't work," said LBS President Dayvon Love. He said the group chose Sunday to rally in the hopes it would get politicians' attention before Tuesday's election.
LBS was joined in the rally by the Baltimore Algebra Project, a student-run tutoring organization; Union Baptist Church, Kinetics Faith and Justice Network, a faith-based advocacy group, and others.