To follow the campaign to save the nursing home visit CARE’s Facebook site.
If you would like to help volunteer to keep our nursing home please fill out this form.
Can’t volunteer? Please consider donating to this campaign!
Build Programs Not Jails has issued a statement in opposition to a proposal made by the Champaign County Housing Authority (CCHA) to the Urbana School Board on November 1, 2016. In the proposal, Ed Bland, the executive director of the CCHA, proposed a data sharing agreement between Urbana District 116 schools and the county housing authority. Bland stated that he would use attendance data as a requirement for pubic housing eligibility.
Build Programs Not Jails will deliver the following statement at the USD116 school board meeting tonight, November 15th 2016.
15 November 2016
TO: Urbana School District 116 Board
The mission of Build Programs Not Jails is to promote alternatives to incarceration in Champaign County, Illinois. We believe that every member of our community deserves to be treated with dignity and we envision a safe and thriving community for everyone.
It has come to our attention that on Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the Urbana School Board heard a recommendation by Champaign County Housing Authority executive director, Ed Bland, to collaborate on data collection, specifically that attendance records would be shared between USD 116 and CCHA. During Bland’s presentation he stated,
“…We want to make that a requirement for our families, for the head of the household, that for them to receive housing assistance, they must make sure that the kids are going to school. So that’s why I’m here tonight… to see if we can do an inter-government agreement to monitor the attendance of the kids. I think by doing that we will find that the kids will perform better in school because we will be making that mandatory on the parents for the kids to come to school.”
As an organization that closely follows the complexities of incarceration both in Champaign County as well as across the nation, this proposal seriously concerns us. When asked by a board member what the data would be used for, Bland answered that it would indeed be used against the family from being eligible for public housing should the child in the home not meet attendance requirements.
While many towns have done data sharing to try to combat truancy, a serious consequence of such a collaboration could end in eviction for many families in need. Children who are living in poverty are already at a higher risk of encountering the criminal justice system and eventually being incarcerated. The rates only go up for those individuals who are homeless.
Another serious consequence of such a proposal is that this could turn us towards the criminalization of truancy. In Texas, tens of thousands of students are charged with truancy if they miss 12 days of school or more. These misdemeanor charges end in piles of fines, fees, criminal records, and even sometimes incarceration for youth or their families.
We believe that such a collaboration, the way it was presented on November 1st, would strengthen the school-to-prison pipeline in our county.
Additionally, we need to keep in mind that our friends, family and community members returning from prison are frequently banned from public housing which makes it incredibly difficult for them to reenter society. Formerly incarcerated individuals – many who experienced poverty or homelessness before entering prison – are now faced with it again.
We in no way support the continuation of this cycle of poverty and incarceration that starts at such a young age. We strongly believe that as a community we need to shift the focus away from punitive measures that deepen mistrust and increase rates of incarceration. Instead, we hope that a more compassionate and effective strategy for combating poverty as a systemic problem for the county’s children be made a priority.
Build Programs Not Jails
Our county overwhelmingly voted NO against this referendum!
We would also like to say a special, “Thank You!” to everyone who dove into this campaign against the sales tax referendum and volunteered their time and energy handing out flyers, distributing and displaying yard signs, attending meetings, building relationships with collaborating organizations, making phone calls, sending emails, hosting films and discussions, using social media, and so much more. Champaign-Urbana continues to prove that it cares about these issues and that people will show up for their community.
Lastly we would like to invite you to attend our upcoming meeting on Monday, November 14th at 6:30pm at the IMC (202 S. Broadway, Urbana). Let’s start this post-election season together and not just to defend against jail construction but to actually build real-life alternatives to mass incarceration.
The BPNJ Coordinating Committee
November 8, 2016
The vision that Build Programs Not Jails holds for the future of Champaign County is a just and thriving community where everyone is valued and has equal opportunity. In coalition with the Graduate Employees’ Organization, Black Lives Matter – Champaign-Urbana, and the North End Breakfast Club we have opposed the so-called public facilities sales tax referendum because it would make it too easy for the County Board to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on jail construction that would move the county further from this vision.
We thank the voters of Champaign County for taking this issue seriously and defeating the referendum, and we pledge to continue to fight for alternatives to incarceration.
We now call on the County Board to shift directions: to prioritize decreasing the jail population through investing in diversion, prevention, re-entry, and basic needs. We encourage the new board to take a leadership role in advancing criminal justice reform and in addressing issues of poverty, racism, and inequality in this county. This includes urgently moving forward on the following key steps to achieving our vision of a fair and thriving community:
Build Programs, Not Jails can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, October 29th at 1pm in Douglass Park in Champaign, BLM-CU will be hosting a community rally against the sales tax and against anti-Black racism in C-U.
We have a limited supply of yarn signs left so get them while they last! You can visit us at the Urbana Farmer’s Market every Saturday or fill out the form below and one will be delivered to your doorstep. Yard signs are free. Donations are not necessary but always appreciated.
We’ve put together a very brief overview of the Champaign County jails in order to help community members to understand some of the process that has led to our current situation with the sales tax referendum.
We also have several printable materials you can use to share information about the sales tax with your friends and neighbors. See our resources page here.
There have been many questions about the “Public Facilities” sales tax referendum that will be on the ballot in our county this November. To help dissect this controversial ballot measure, Build Programs Not Jails will be hosting an educational panel and discussion.
Wednesday, October 5th at 6:45pm in the Champaign Public Library, Robeson Room A
Panel members include impacted community members, volunteer activists that work with incarcerated individuals, and people familiar with the referendum history. Urbana Alderman and long-time activist, Aaron Ammons, will moderate the panel that explains the details of the referendum, lays out possible alternative paths for solving the county’s facilities issues, and outlines the case for opposing the sales tax referendum. A dialog with the audience will follow the panel.
Light food and refreshments will be available.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/299178067129448/
Likely the debate over jail construction has been the most hotly contested political issue in this county in decades. Incarceration is unnecessary for the majority of people who are arrested, and can further disrupt people’s lives, especially for low-income individuals. However, the county board’s referendum is a quick-fix solution aimed at ignoring the problems and solutions that the community has brought to this board for the last four and a half years. We reject this plan and hope that the county will come forward with a solution to these problems that breaks with the history of excessive reliance on incarceration to solve social problems, and which contributes to eliminating the racial disparity that has become a persistent feature of our county jail. It is time for a new direction.
Stop the County Board’s Latest Scheme to Fund Jail Building – Urgent Action Required!
Tuesday, August 9th 6:30pm at the Brookens Administration Building (1776 E. Washington St. Urbana)
The Champaign County Board is sneaking a multi-million dollar satellite jail expansion package within a “Facilities Action Plan” that they will discuss on Tuesday, August 9th and vote on on Thursday, August 18th. In an attempt to mask the plan for building more cells at the satellite jail facility, the county has included within this plan necessary repairs and maintenance of other facilities in with the proposal. Unfortunately, the current proposal allocates approximately 65% of the money for law enforcement purposes, including 36% ($18 million) for renovating and expanding the satellite jail, closing the downtown jail, and moving the sheriff’s offices. It has zero funding for much-needed alternatives to incarceration.
This a “jail referendum” NOT a “facility referendum” as it is being advertised.
For years, Champaign-Urbana citizens have voiced their opposition to further jail construction and have asked the board to push for alternatives to incarceration, including a mental health crisis facility. The current proposal does not allocate a single cent of immediate funding from the sales tax for facilities and programs that will keep people out of jail. Community members have also asked for attention towards and information about the deaths of three Champaign residents who died in the jail within a 7 month period; deaths which have yet to be adequately addressed by county officials.
Routine maintenance on county facilities and continued advocacy for critical community programs for the health and safety of our county deserves support. However, we remain in opposition to expanding the satellite jail and feel that this “Action Plan” put forth by the board comprises much needed maintenance by attaching millions of dollars in unpopular jail construction.
Mobilize to the board meeting on Tuesday, August 9th at 6:30pm at Brookens Admin. Building (1776 E. Washington St., Urbana) and stop the board from proceeding with this jail building referendum!
The referendum proposal can be found here: Referendum proposal 2016 facilities sales tax August 2016
Build Programs, Not Jails