Celebrating a year of fueling the criminal justice movement
by Peter Wagner, November 8, 2016
We just released our 2015-2016 Prison Policy Initiative Annual Report, and I’m thrilled to share some highlights of our work with you. 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 the way in which we analyze and present obscure or underutilized data to fill information gaps that are stalling the movement against mass incarceration. For example, detaining people because they are poor is an offensive idea, but it was difficult to prove that this is exactly what the American cash bail system does. This year, Bernadette Rabuy and Daniel Kopf were able to support this claim with evidence in our report Detaining the Poor: How money bail perpetuates an endless cycle of poverty and jail time by putting an obscure government dataset to good use. In addition, Aleks Kajstura and Russ Immarigeon wrote a report putting each state’s incarceration of women into global context and showing that even the most progressive U.S. states are out of step with the rest of the world.
We did all of this while continuing to achieve real change on our focused campaigns:
- Our campaign to convince the U.S. Census Bureau to count incarcerated people as residents of their home addresses in the 2020 Census went into high gear. We organized 100,000 people to call on the Census Bureau to end prison gerrymandering.
- The Federal Communications Commission approved an historic new order that will lower the cost of calling home from prisons and jails.
- We helped Massachusetts roll back a law that automatically suspended driver’s licenses of people convicted of drug offenses unrelated to driving, a relic of the War on Drugs.
To assist us in our mission to continue fueling the movement against mass incarceration, we have grown and added two new full-time members to our team. As the organization grows, so do our financial needs. Generous contributions from funders and individual donors will allow us to complete exciting new reports (along with some much-needed updates to old ones) in the new year. We would love you to join these donors by making a one-time or monthly contribution to our work. And please know that any gifts we receive through the end of 2016 will be matched by other donors, so your generosity will be able to go twice as far.
Thank you for taking the time to celebrate this year’s success with us.