Peter Wagner, Executive Director
I need your help. For more than a decade, the Prison Policy Initiative has been at the forefront of the movement to expose how mass incarceration undermines our national welfare. With a lot of hard work and generous support from a small network of individual donors, we've won major civil rights victories in local governments, state legislatures and even the Supreme Court. But our long-term viability depends on people like you investing in our work.

Can you stand up for smart and effective justice policy by joining our small network of donors today? You can make a one-time gift, or even become one of our sustaining monthly donors.

Through the end of 2014, your contribution to our work will stretch twice as far thanks to a match commitment from a small group of other donors like you.

I thank you for your investment in our work towards a more just tomorrow.
... (read more) (read less)

What's New


The Prison Policy Initiative documents the impact of mass incarceration on individuals, communities, and the national welfare in order to empower the public to improve criminal justice policy.

Featured project: National Incarceration Briefing Series

handout describing PPI's national incarceration briefing seriesThis series includes four innovative reports:

Also, our new 50 state profiles include the state-specific charts and graphs from each report as well as an overview of the Prison Policy Initiative's major work to date in each state.

Our work

National Incarceration Briefing Series

Four innovative reports and a national profile series show the whole pie of mass incarceration, state by state racial disparity and incarceration over time rates, and how individual U.S. states' use of incarceration measures up in the international context. Related projects include our book, The Prison Index: Taking the Pulse of the Crime Control Industry, our research clearinghouse and our other resources, which all help bridge the gap between existing criminal justice information and the people like you who want to make informed decisions.

Ending prison gerrymandering

Our main focus is on ending prison gerrymandering, the distortion in our democratic process caused by the Census Bureau's practice of counting people where they are confined, not where they come from.

So far, four states and more than 200 local governments have ended prison gerrymandering.

Regulating the prison phone industry

Our two reports call on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate exploitative prison phone rates.

Our work on the prison phone industry was cited in two letters from Congress, won the support of the New York Times editorial board, and was the basis for a collaboration with SumOfUs to collect 36,690 petitions to the FCC.

The FCC is now considering regulation.

Protecting letters from home

We're taking on the newest fad sweeping through county jails: the wrong-headed policy of banning letters from home and requiring loved ones to write on public postcards.

Sentencing enhancement zones

Most states have well-intentioned but counter-productive laws that enhance sentence based on where the offense is located.

We demonstrated that a Massachusetts drug law that set the penalty by where the offense is located — and not the harm caused by the offense — does not work, can never work, and has serious negative effects.

The recommendations of our two reports were endorsed by Governor Patrick and led to a change in the law.

We've since made the same point — that when states declare everywhere to be special, nowhere is special — in other states.

If our work is new to you, you might want to check out our 2013-2014 annual report.

thumbnails of Prison Policy Initiative annual report for 2013-2014

Meet us

Nothing scheduled right now. Invite us to to your city, college or organization or apply for an internship.

Stay informed:

Get the latest updates by signing up for our newsletters:

Tweet this Follow @PrisonPolicy on Twitter Donate Contact Us