MILK NOT JAILS is a volunteer-run, grassroots campaign working to build a new urban-rural alliance in New York State. We are urban and rural residents, prison justice activists, farmers, artists, formerly incarcerated people, local food enthusiasts, and prison families who believe that one important way to fix a dysfunctional prison system that plagues both rural and urban people and spaces is to build grassroots alliances amongst urban and rural communities.
Founded in March 2010, MILK NOT JAILS has two immediate goals. First, we seek to end upstate, rural New York’s dependency on the prison economy, which has created a dysfunctional relationship between urban and rural peoples and also has prevented improvements to the State’s criminal justice system from being made. Second, we seek to revitalize and invest in New York’s agricultural economy as a model alternative to the prison economy. Why agriculture? Prisons offer employment opportunities in rural areas, because rural New York is where 90percent of the State’s prisons are located. Agriculture is the historic industry of rural New York and has the proven potential to connect urban and rural peoples in a healthy economic relationship.