After 10 years of research, the Coalition just produced this Taxpayers Report to help people understand what it will take to do jail reform, to reverse the fallout and impact of mass incarceration on the people economically. This document was produced for the benefit of Whatcom County taxpayers so they could get a quick understanding of the complexity of the issue around jail building.
Our goal was to provide a complete alternative to expanding the jail industry in favor of implementing restorative economic solutions instead. To embrace these new ideas, people need to see how the economic drivers of mass incarceration are encouraging the corporate contractor mentality that supports the punishment for profit model. People need to see from the inside so they could understand why the corporations backing the jail build are doing it to the potential detriment of taxpayers.
Irene Morgan, the Founder of the Coalition, and Joy Gilfilen, our President wrote it…and here is an excerpt from our opening page:
Economic Alternatives = Opportunities for Taxpayers
With over 25% of the world’s prisoners, and only 5% of the world’s population, America is failing to protect the freedom of our citizens…at great cost to the taxpayers.
Over-incarceration, police bias, and lack of prison reform illustrate the need for economic changes in our systems.
It is time to replace the ‘profiting on punishment’ economy with a ‘people on purpose’ localized economic engine. In Whatcom County alone, our County spends roughly 65% of our tax dollars on traditional law and justice. Now they are asking taxpayers to compound our costs to build a $132.5 Million dollar 40-acre regional jail compound – the largest capital expenditure in the history of Whatcom County. It’s estimated to cost taxpayers a billion dollars to operate over 30 years. Yet, County officials state that there has been a 25% reduction in serious crime and an 80% reduction in juvenile crime in the past five years!
What’s wrong with this picture? Inside this report, the Restorative Community Coalition summarizes why the past model is counter-productive to public safety. It costs taxpayers on many levels.
We show how industries profit on punishment, and how citizens can take back control of our freedom by controlling our tax dollars. With vision, knowledge and restorative economic principles we can rebuild our communities to get far better results for the people.
- Stop bailing out a failed jail economy
- Create jobs, not bigger jails
- Re-educate rather than incarcerate
- Invest in people, not punishment
- Help taxpayers get a better return on their tax dollars