A transparency initiative led by the California Department of Justice that publishes criminal justice data so we can understand how we are doing, hold ourselves accountable, and improve public policy to make California safer.
Prison Map asks, what does the geography of incarceration in the United States look like?
Ever wonder about the amount of Earth covered by our roads or parking lot asphalt? It’s a staggering thing to consider. Josh Begley, an NYU Telecommunications graduate student and the creator of prisonmap.com, applied this question to detention facilities. The results are interesting, then monotonous, and ultimately depressing, but uniquely informative.
California is top-of-the-list responsible for inspiring our national dialogue on prison reform – period. Check out this well-written and researched piece by Tim Kowal for the politics and culture site, Ordinary Times. Don’t let the title fool you; neither Kowal or myself are anti-union, however there are reasons why California’s prison guards are curiously quiet as we head into the 2014 election cycle.
(famm.org) Families Against Mandatory Minimums is an prison reform advocacy group with smarter sentencing policies at the forefront of its extensive efforts. With a long history fighting a “one-size-fits-all approach” to criminal justice, mandatory minimum sentencing, and excessive incarceration, Founder Julie Stewart and FAMM are the heavy weight champs of prison and sentence reform.
THE ACTOR’S GANG PRISON PROJECT
Since 2006, The Actor’s Gang theater company, through its Prison Project, has brought it arts rehabilitation program to inmates in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The Prison Project provides a safe haven for inmates to interact away from narrow prison politics, racial boundaries, and gang ideology. They do it with Shakespeare – and it works.
Prison Policy Initiative
(prisonpolicy.org) The research oriented non-profit, Prison Policy Initiative, works shed light on Incarceration America. It creates prison reform advocacy and is essentially a think tank, ever in study of “how mass criminalization undermines our national welfare.” PPI’s website is wonderful learning tool.
National Prison Divestment Campaign
(prisondivestment.wordpress.com) Perhaps calling on all public and private institutions to divest their holdings in America’s private prison corporations isn’t your thing. Sounds like commie-pinko stuff anyway, right? But if you think it’s wrong for Wells Fargo to aggressively market programs that allow immigrants, without U.S. identification, to open bank accounts –while investing in detention corporations who lobby for ever-increasing incarceration of immigrants– here’s where to learn more.
The National Reentry Resource Center
(www.nationalreentryresourcecenter.org) Everything “prisoner reentry” as interpreted by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and U.S. Department of Justice through the Second Chance Act (Public Law 110-199). This is about as upbeat and user-friendly as it gets in understanding what states, tribes, territories, local governments, service providers, non-profit organizations, and corrections institutions are doing to advance the field of prisoner reentry and improve the chances for a successful transition from incarceration to civilian life.
The ACLU Foundation of Southern California is the court-ordered monitor of conditions of confinement and medical services within all Los Angeles County jail facilities. “Conditions” refers to beds, change of clothing, food, meals, gay inmate classification, recreation, showers, telephones, overcrowding, “fish” kits, store, protective custody, religious services, mail, allegations of violence and retaliation and other similar issues that may arise.
The Real Cost of Prisons Project
(www.realcostofprisons.org) If you’ve ever heard the term, “Prison Industrial Complex” and dismissed it as a conspiracy movie staring Dennis Quaid, the RCoP project will give you a clear understanding of what mass incarceration means and how, as The Economist says of America’s prisons, “never in the civilized world have so many been locked up for so little.”
Right on Crime
(www.rightoncrime.com) Yes, this is a conservative website. The good news is that folks of all stripes are finally coming around to the fact that incarceration in America is a BIG, collective problem. It costs too much; it impinges unevenly on too many freedoms; and its generally time for major reform. Now let’s all reach across the aisle and make something happen.
The ACLU National Prison Project
(www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/) For balance, of course. In fact the ACLU has long been an important advocate for prisoners’ rights, reforming prison conditions like overcrowding, and for fighting the evil that is prison privatization. You don’t have to agree with all of their positions, but do check ‘em out on this issue.
The House I Live In
(www.thehouseilivein.org/get-involved/) Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki takes on the failed U.S. Drug War with a gripping film and multi-layered website that links to ways to get involved. Watch the movie on your duff, then get off of it and take some action.
The Incarceration Clock
(embed: http://www.prisonsucks.com/clock.shtml) What’s there to say? Thank you to the folks at prisonsucks.com for keeping this up to date.