2013-2014 was a landmark year for the Prison Policy Initiative!
by Peter Wagner, September 29, 2014
We just released our 2013-2014 Prison Policy Initiative Annual Report, which I’m thrilled to say details greater progress on more fronts than ever before. A combination of new and ongoing partnerships has allowed us to win solid victories on our ongoing campaigns, step up to the plate on new issues, and also work on strengthening the reform movement by filling in some major national data gaps.
Here are just a few campaign highlights:
- We made headway towards a national solution to prison gerrymandering, joined with our allies in a lawsuit to protect the voting rights of the citizens of Cranston, RI, supported the new Massachusetts resolution urging the Census Bureau to count incarcerated people at home, and continued to build momentum in state-based campaigns around the country.
- Our research and advocacy urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect the families of incarcerated people from the predatory prison and jail phone industry helped to win historic FCC regulation. We’ve continued to generate public support for further reform, including a petition with our partners at SumOfUs that collected 23,585 signatures.
- We expanded our research on overreaching geography-based penalties to release an in-depth report on sentencing enhancement zones in Connecticut, which helped rally support for reform in the state’s legislature.
- We took on additional issues, including releasing the first-ever report to document the problem of driver’s license suspensions for drug offenses unrelated to driving, and helping Massachusetts to become the 21st state to ban practice of unnecessarily shackling women who are giving birth while incarcerated.
Generous individual donors’ support also allowed us to bring in new allies to the criminal justice reform movement and fill major data gaps that had been holding the movement back. For example:
- We published four innovative reports and a national profile series to provide the movement for criminal justice reform with critical data that was previously — and surprisingly — unavailable. Our reports 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.
- We worked with YouTube celebrity Hank Green on a video about mass incarceration that has nearly 1,150,000 views, and worked with media outlets around the country to illustrate why the U.S. must stop using incarceration as a one-size-fits-all response to social problems
While the most recent national statistics on prison population increases were sobering, our accomplishments over the past year are a testament to the collective strength of the national movement for criminal justice reform. I’m so grateful to the partners and supporters who make our work possible. If you are able to join them in making a tax-deductible contribution to our work, your support will go twice as far thanks to a match commitment from a small group of other donors like you.
Thank you! We can’t wait to see what this coming year will bring!