The state of California has started a #SchoolsNotPrisons Tour to advocate for an end to massive spending on incarceration that is standing in the way of California’s ability to invest in education, health and prevention. The fourth and most recent stop on the tour was to Calipatria State Prison where Pusha T and John Forte graced the stage for the arts and music tour.
This was the first ever live event at this Calipatria State Prison, making it a historic visit for the prisoners and the performers. Pusha and Forte were given a full tour of the prison, a male-only correctional facility housing 3,841 people in Imperial County, California, and were able to meet the Warden and correctional staff. The concert took place in the middle of the prison yard and hundreds of inmates and prison staff were in attendance.
This was more than just a performance for the Grammy-nominated rapper Pusha T. He explained why it was so important for him to be apart of this #SchoolsNotPrisons Tour.
“Putting an end to mass incarceration is important to me. It’s something I’ve watched destroy a generation of my peers”, the Virginia native said. “I was able to go to Calipatria and see there was still inspiration and hope in the inmates, that was motivation for me to keep fighting for this cause.”
California state prisons incarcerate more than 128,000 people at a cost of over $11 billion a year. This tour is a call to action for more spending on education and health instead. This investment would not only be essential for community safety, but also to the lives of incarcerated people in California.
Incarcerated people who take part in college courses are less likely to be arrested again and more likely to find a job after release. However, nearly half of the people released from prison after their sentence, end up back there. And 65% of people in American prisons and jails meet medical criteria for substance abuse and addiction, and in California state prisons 45% of inmates are treated for several mental illnesses,according to a Stanford study from 2014.
With that being said, the investment in health and education of incarcerated people seems imperative for the future success of these men and women.
The #SchoolsNotPrisons Music Tour is being produced by Revolve Impact, a social impact firm at the forefront of integrating, organizing and the arts to drive communities to action. The California Endowment and The California Wellness Foundation are providing support for the tour, in partnership with TIDAL. For the tour schedule and more detailed information, click here.