A year of propelling the criminal justice reform movement forward
by Peter Wagner, September 22, 2015
We just released our 2014-2015 Prison Policy Initiative Annual Report, and I’m thrilled to share some highlights of our work. We had another great year of leading innovative campaigns while also strengthening the movement with long-absent data and resources.
Part of what makes the Prison Policy Initiative unique is that we can identify the data gaps that are stalling the movement against mass incarceration, and we have the creativity to answer the questions that are commonly considered unanswerable. For example, a few months ago, we released, Prisons of Poverty, which made use of a government dataset hiding in plain sight: we updated decades-old pre-incarceration incomes for men in prison and published this data for women for the very first time.
We did all of this while continuing to achieve real change on our focused campaigns:
- The Massachusetts legislature sent a bipartisan resolution to the Census Bureau calling on the federal government to stop counting incarcerated people in the wrong place, and we won a preliminary victory in our federal voting rights lawsuit challenging prison gerrymandering in Cranston, Rhode Island.
- In January, we provided the Federal Communications Commission with six major research briefings, supporting its efforts to bring fairness to all calls home from prisons and jails. We are expecting a ruling next month.
- We launched the national movement to protect family visits from the exploitative video visitation industry and have already won victories protecting in-person family visits in Dallas County, Texas and Portland, Oregon.
- Armed with our research, Connecticut removed the harsh mandatory minimum sentences from the state’s 1,500-feet drug sentencing enhancement zones.
And as our work has diversified, so has our funding. We’ve brought in new foundation partners, and our individual donors have increased in both number and generosity. If you are able to join our donors in making a tax-deductible investment in our work, your support will now go twice as far thanks to a generous match.
Thank you for your partnership! Please celebrate with me.