Activists denounce agenda of
American Correctional Association meeting in Philadelphia

By Diane R. Fornbacher, Executive Director of Drug Policy Forum of Pennsylvania

Between August 11-15, Philadelphia will host the members and partners of the American Correctional Association (ACA), an organization that boasts of "125 years of excellence" in the prison industry. The ACA is a group that bills itself as "the oldest supplier of correctional goods and services in the United States." It serves as an umbrella group for all organizations doing business in, around and with prisons.

The umbrella shelters self-serving corporations that contract prison labor and pay prisoners as little as 19 cents an hour in prison factories. Prison HMOs are often sued for medical neglect while this corporate lobby group advocates longer prison sentences. Department of Corrections officials are involved in ACA at all levels, including companies who provide poison and needles for executions. They'll all be there with their hand out in this upside down, money-grubbing perversion of a welfare and employment system.

While Philadelphia city leaders host members and partners of the ACA, the Coalition Against the ACA (CAACA), will convene ex-offenders, families of prisoners, activists, and concerned citizens to counter and denounce the ACA's agenda. We will use this opportunity to deny the false consensus that more prisons and punitive policies are the only solution to the crime problem.

The CAACA is a network of several organizations, including The Justice Policy Institute, The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, ACT-UP Philadelphia, Brown Collective People of Color Caucus, International Action Center, Books Through Bars and many others. Drug Policy Forum of Pennsylvania (DPFPA) is also part of the CAACA.

As Director, I will personally represent the prisoners of the drug war, providing copies of The Razor Wire and November Coalition tabloids. At organizing meetings for the "counter conference" that will take place from August 11-12, I'll be armed with November Coalition drug war prisoner stories so the prisoners' cause has the highest visibility at these important functions.

The Counter Conference on the Prison-Industrial Complex is an alliance of grassroots organizations that promotes networking, education and collaborative action within our respective communities concerning the most prominent human rights issue of our time: the uncontrolled growth of an unjust and ineffective prison and criminal justice system. Through various workshops and discussions, we are educating one another, debunking myths about crime and prisons, calling for collaboration and action, and preparing to challenge the American Correctional Association, and all enterprise that generates profit by maintaining high incarceration rates.

For more information, please contact Amy Kwasnicki at (215) 727-9473.
For online inquiry contact: or Diane R. Fornbacher at (215) 633-9812 or .

(Diane R. Fornbacher is Executive Director of the
Tri-State Drug Policy Forum, a multi-state group dedicated to educating the public about sensible and humane drug policies and Regional Volunteer for the November Coalition.)