YSRP Co-Director Joanna Visser Adjoian participated as a panelist at the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ first policy hearing on their five-stop Women and Girls of Color listening tour at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy on Thursday, November 16, 2017. The hearing featured women and girls who are incarcerated at SCI Muncy, including a 15 year old girl, and women serving life sentences; the House Democratic Policy Committee; and advocacy and community based organizations. Panelists, including Ms. Visser Adjoian and our partners at Ardella’s House, Why Not Prosper, the Pennsylvania Prison Society and others, highlighted issues related to the rising incarceration rates of girls and women of color, the growth of the school-to-prison pipeline, improving conditions for women who are incarcerated, and support for their reentry to the community.
Morgan Cephas, (D-Phila), chairwoman of the PLBC Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color, was eager to host the hearing at Muncy. Cephas said the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ visit was important so that:
…we can finally expand the discussion of criminal justice reform to include women and girls of color. The female prison population is on the rise and there must be immediate conversations on how to reserve this. In the meantime, we must also ensure that incarcerated women are receiving the services they need. It’s beyond time we make sure our state budget, legislative proposals, and policy agendas are conducive to the needs of women and girls of color.
YSRP applauds the leadership of the PBLC, including Morgan Cephas and Jordan Harris (D-Phila), for elevating the conversation about women and girls, and particularly women of color, as the fastest growing population of incarcerated people. Read more about the visit to SCI Muncy here, and the five-part listening tour here.