FUEGO's Response to DRN Article on SRO Presentation

The June 18 article published in the DNR titled “HPD Plans Talk with SRO Task Force” reflects how far our government institutions need to go to address historic harms, achieve racial justice and abolish mass incarceration. It also reflects the work ahead to dismantle systemic racism and anti-blackness.

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MRRJ $14.5m Renovations Lay Groundwork for Bed Expansion

We, the undersigning organizations, call on the Cities of Harrisonburg and Waynesboro to revise the $14.5 million renovation plan approved at the Middle River Regional Jail (MRRJ) authority meeting that took place on June 1, 2021. These renovations add an expansion of 32,000 square feet (that’s the size of half a soccer field). We demand that the three mayors and two board chairs, representing the five jurisdictions, come back to the negotiating table to remove all the items that expand the square footage and limit the funding to exclusively fixing elements of the existing facility, without adding square footage nor additional bed space. (See renovation plan here on page 27)


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Harrisonburg Public Schools' Task Force on SROs

Harrisonburg City Public Schools (HCPS), announced in January, 2021 the launching of a task force that would seek public input on School Resource Officers, or SROs.  As reported by The Harrisonburg Citizen on January 6, and on February 17, school officials announced that among the multiple actions of the taskforce, it would conduct research, surveys, a listening tour, and provide recommendations to the school board about whether police officers should be present in school buildings and, if so, what their roles should be.

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MRRJ Expansion Plans Put on Hold

On Tuesday, April 6, the MRRJ jail authority put jail expansion plans on hold for the upcoming fiscal year. The decision comes after Harrisonburg and Waynesboro City Councils expressed opposition to the expansion, which rest two of the four votes necessary for the jail authority to move forward with expansion recommendations. The move will save the five jurisdictions that own MRRJ (Harrisonburg, Rockingham, Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro) $39.5 millions of upfront money, and $70 millions over the life span of the loan. This decision also forces the jurisdictions and criminal justice entities to consider reducing incarceration levels instead.

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Update on Middle River Regional Jail Expansion

On March 22, the Waynesboro, VA, City Council, advised their City Manager, Mike Hamp, to NOT move forward with jail expansion recommendations in his role as member of the Middle River Regional Jail (MRRJ) authority board. The discussion is available in the Waynesboro City Council's youtube channel, and the conversation takes place during the minutes 27:15-1:13:00.

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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).

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More than 2000 people are opposing the MRRJ expansion

FUEGO has joined multiple organizations across the Shenandoah Valley to oppose the Middle River Regional Jail expansion plans. Together we launched a petition that now has more than 2000 signatures. if you would like to support this cause, add your name and invite others to join as well. The petition indicates three important steps that our community is taking to prevent, reduce, and eliminate incarceration levels. Check it out!

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