STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ)– Since being founded in 2020, Central Pennsylvania United’s main goal has been to build an equitable government that recognizes all members of the community. Now they are shifting their focus to improving the prison conditions in Centre County with their new criminal justice reform initiative.
“We take a look at some of the needs in Centre County in regard to the criminal justice system and how it disproportionately affects certain people or their certain aspects of the system which could be made better,” Melanie Morrison, a member of the Central Pennsylvania United, said.
For the initiative, they’ve outlined two main goals. First, to improve the living conditions within area prisons and to reduce to the number of people who are incarcerated.
“Well currently at our Centre County Corrections Facility, there is no outdoor rec,” Morrison said. “Which means that the people who are there even those awaiting trial get zero sunlight, zero fresh air.”
As part of their first goal, they hope to reduce the use of solitary confinement. A member of the group, Tyson Daniels, said that it often does more harm to prisoners than it helps them.
“The United Nations has said that over like 10 or 14 days of solitary confinement is considered torture,” Daniels said “So we’ve heard reports that that is being used much more than that in our local jail.”
Members of the group said that they will begin working to identify their first steps toward action in the coming months.