Dear Mayor Landrieu and New Orleans City Council members,
I am calling on you to reject the proposal for a huge 5800-bed Orleans Parish Prison. Building such a large prison would result in New Orleanians paying more money for less public safety -- as a larger prison boosts the incentive to arrest more people for minor offensives, while missing the opportunity to invest dollars in other critical infrastructure and programs.
It's time for our elected officials to invest in less expensive, more effective alternatives to incarceration. While the cost to build the jail will fall on FEMA, running it will fall on the tax-payers of New Orleans. And those funds would be better spent building other needed facilities, like substance abuse or mental health treatment centers. Those funds could be used for other critical priorities for the city, including education, recreation programs, job creation, good health care, better roads and other critical infrastructure.
I ask you to take responsibility and show your constituents that you believe that New Orleans' future depends on investing in our communities, not expanding our jails.
[Your Name Here]