11 Groups Now Oppose MRRJ Expansion
We, the undersigned organizations call on residents and public officials of the Counties and Cities of Harrisonburg, Rockingham , Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta, of the State of Virginia, to stop and oppose the existing plans to expand the jail capacity and operational costs of Middle River Regional Jail (MRRJ).
We believe the initial construction of MRRJ, its current operational costs, and existing plans to expand are vivid representations of an oppressive and racist system of mass incarceration. This system consumes lives and community resources that should be allocated to affordable housing, education, health care access, employment, and other aspects of our communal life that keep us safe and healthy. MRRJ’s plans to expand are not only ineffective and immoral, but are a drain on the lifeblood of our community. It would be irresponsible, in the midst of projected budget cuts caused by our pandemic, and at this critical moment in history where we need to deconstruct systems that uphold racism and classism, to prioritize the carceral system’s continued demands on at the expense of our respect for life and dignity.
We invite the general public, across our beautiful region, to organize and mobilize for change in our communities’ valuation of human dignity, so that we might invest our public resources for the flourishing of everyone. We believe this change must include stopping the MRRJ expansion. We invite all public officials and decision-makers to enact policies, practices and procedures that REDUCE incarceration levels to the point where current jail expansion plans are no longer needed, and where ultimately prisons and jails do not exist.
In solidarity with all families impacted by incarceration, with the social services organizations that are underfunded, with the people who suffer the consequences of limited public resources, with the people detained at MRRJ, and with all the people detained in prisons and jails across the country, we sign together.
1. Friends United for Equity & Grassroots Organizing (FUEGO)
2. Harrisonburg-Rockingham NAACP
3. Silver Run Forrest Farm
4. Justice for Prisoners
5. Shenandoah Socialist Collective
6. Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Chapter of Virginia Organizing
7. Waynesboro Chapter of Virginia Organizing
8. Bridge of Hope Harrisonburg/Rockingham
9. Citizens Against Middle River Expansion
10. Our Community Place
11. Harrisonburg Reparations Group
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