Prison Policy Initiative press releases
- Prison Policy Initiative releases detailed data on the “geography of incarceration” in New York state, opening doors for future research
The new resource uses data generated by New York’s law ending prison gerrymandering.
February 19, 2020
- New Jersey Governor signs bill ending prison gerrymandering
Over 25% of U.S. residents now live in a state, county, or municipality that has ended prison gerrymandering.
January 21, 2020
- New report, Youth Confinement: The Whole Pie 2019, breaks down where children and teenagers are locked up in the U.S., where, and why
At a time when cutting the adult prison population by 50% seems radical to many people, states have already cut the number of confined youth by 60% since 2000.
December 19, 2019
- New report, Women’s Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2019, reveals how many women are locked up in the U.S., where, and why
The report highlights the need for reforms to local jails, which now hold more women than state prisons do.
October 29, 2019
- New report, Arrest, Release, Repeat, reveals how many people go to jail each year and how many times they go
Our analysis reveals that at least 4.9 million people cycle through county jails each year - and most have serious medical and economic needs.
August 26, 2019
- Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signs law ending prison gerrymandering
Nevada moved swiftly, ending prison gerrymandering in a single legislative session.
May 31, 2019
- Washington Governor Jay Inslee signs law ending prison gerrymandering
Washington State moved swiftly, ending prison gerrymandering in a single legislative session.
May 21, 2019
- New report, Does our county really need a bigger jail?, helps counties avoid needless jail growth
All too often, proposals to expand local jails receive no pushback or critical attention. A new report helps counties think twice.
May 6, 2019
- Prison Policy Initiative files objections to unreasonable jail phone rates, asks Iowa Utilities Board to protect families
At a time when phone calls for the rest of us cost almost nothing, there is no reason to force the poorest families in Iowa to pay outlandish rates.
April 26, 2019
- Washington State passes bill ending prison gerrymandering
Pending Governor Jay Inslee's signature, Washington State will become the fifth state to count incarcerated people at their home addresses during redistricting.
April 23, 2019
- Victory for phone justice: Securus and ICSolutions abandon attempted merger
A merger between the two companies would have curtailed the ability of prisons and jails to choose a phone provider, to the detriment of incarcerated people and their families.
April 2, 2019
- New report, Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2019, provides annual "big picture" view of confinement in the U.S. with 7 new infographics
With this year's updated edition of Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie, we once again answer the essential questions of how many people are locked up, where, and why.
March 19, 2019
- New report uncovers the cost of phone calls in over 2,000 locally-run jails across the U.S.
The movement for phone justice has won huge victories in state-run prisons, but people in jail pretrial are on the front lines of exploitation.
February 11, 2019
- New report ranks states on "correctional control," showing huge state disparities in use of probation
December 11, 2018
- New report: The eight most efficient ways to shorten long prison sentences
Clemency isn't the only way for governors and legislators to show mercy. Our report provides a roadmap with several options.
November 15, 2018
- New report, Women's Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2018, reveals how many women are locked up in the U.S., where, and why
The report includes a new, data-rich visualization of women in jails, highlighting a critical area for criminal justice reform.
November 13, 2018
- New report, Getting Back on Course, shows that prison permanently hinders education
Our criminal justice system isn’t just sending people from school to prison – it’s locking them out of education altogether.
October 30, 2018
- New report, Nowhere to Go, breaks down the housing crisis among formerly incarcerated people
A stable home is all but required for successful reentry. How many formerly incarcerated people are locked out of housing?.
August 14, 2018
- New report, Out of Prison & Out of Work, calculates the first unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people
Formerly incarcerated people overwhelmingly want to work, but they face huge obstacles in the job market.
July 10, 2018
- New report, The Company Store, questions fairness and purpose of prison commissaries
In a first-of-its-kind data analysis, we explore the economics of prison commissaries in three states.
May 24, 2018
- New Report, Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2018, pieces together systems of confinement and provides 11 new infographics
With this year's updated edition of Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie, we once again answer the essential questions of how many people are locked up, where, and why.
March 14, 2018
- New report, Youth Confinement: The Whole Pie, breaks down where youth are locked up in the U.S. and why
In a series of graphics, we explain how tens of thousands of youth who could be better served in their communities still end up in confinement.
February 27, 2018
- Census Bureau will count incarcerated people in the wrong place once again in 2020 Census, continues to distort democracy
Census Bureau announcement means another decade of prison gerrymandering. State-by-state reforms are urgent.
February 7, 2018
- New report, The Gender Divide, identifies state gender disparities in prisons
Women’s prison populations are largely growing faster than men’s. See our 50-state analysis.
January 9, 2018
- Women's mass incarceration gets Whole Pie analysis
New report details the number of women who are locked up by various correctional systems and why.
October 19, 2017
- New report, What “Stop-and-Frisk” Really Means, argues that a return to stop-and-frisk would be a policing disaster
President Trump supports stop & frisk; but Black and Latino people know from experience that the result is discriminatory use of force.
August 17, 2017
- New report, Era of Mass Expansion, looks at states to explain jail growth
Since the 1980's crime has fallen, but the number of people in jails tripled. Our new report finds two troubling explanations for why this has occurred: the rise in pre-trial detention and the renting of jail space to other authorities. .
May 31, 2017
- New report, Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2017, pieces together systems of confinement and provides 15 new infographics
With this year’s updated edition of Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie, we once again answer the essential questions of how many people are locked up, where, and why.
March 14, 2017
- New report reveals who pays for and who benefits from mass incarceration
In a first-of-its-kind report, the Prison Policy Initiative aggregates economic data to offer a big picture view of who pays for and who benefits from mass incarceration.
January 25, 2017
- New report finds that 12 states and Washington D.C. still automatically suspend driver’s licenses for drug offenses unrelated to driving
A relic of the War on Drugs pressures states to automatically suspend the driver’s license of anyone convicted of a drug offense, even if the offense did not involve driving. This practice hits the poor the hardest.
December 12, 2016
- New report finds Massachusetts charges monthly probation fees to people who can’t afford them
The state brings in over $20 million in revenue from monthly probation fees each year. The problem? Probation rates are highest in the lowest-income communities.
December 8, 2016
- Statement in Response to Federal Appeals Court Decision In Cranston "Prison Gerrymandering" Case
Court allows prison gerrymandering in Cranston, RI. City still has no logical reason for counting all people incarcerated by the state as residents of a single ward.
September 21, 2016
- Census Bureau proposes to count incarcerated people in the wrong place once again in 2020 Census, continues to distort democracy
Advocates should make their voices heard to demand a more accurate count.
June 30, 2016
- New report and infographic: How does your state’s use of prison compare to the nations of the world?
Prison Policy Initiative's new report, "States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2016," compares the incarceration rates of individual U.S. states to that of other countries.
June 16, 2016
- New report reveals huge variations in correctional control among states
New report provides big picture of mass incarceration with pie charts for each state and D.C.
June 1, 2016
- Federal Court Rules that Prison-based Gerrymandering Violates the Constitution
A U.S. District Judge ruled today that the City of Cranston violated the one person, one vote principle of the U.S. constitution when it counted people incarcerated at the Adult Correctional Institutions as "residents" of one Ward of the City.
May 24, 2016
- Detaining the poor: New report finds that people detained pretrial are too poor to afford money bail
New report finds people unable to meet bail are poorest of the poor.
May 10, 2016
- New report, Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2016, pieces together systems of confinement and provides further detail about local jails
This Pi Day, the Prison Policy Initiative has an updated version of its mass incarceration pie chart, including more detail on jails and new infographic slideshows.
March 14, 2016
- Report asks if electronic messaging in prisons and jails is innovation or exploitation?
New report finds electronic messaging in prisons and jails is a product of questionable value at inflated prices.
January 21, 2016
- New report, Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2015, reveals 2.3 million people are locked up in the U.S. and why
U.S. locks up more than 2.3 million people in prisons, jails, and other facilities on any given day. New report provides foundation for long overdue conversation about criminal justice reform.
December 8, 2015
- New infographic & report: How does women's incarceration in your state compare to countries across the world?
Report reveals that every US state incarcerates women at higher rate than most countries, shows growth of women's incarceration in the US over the last century.
November 18, 2015
- Separation by Bars and Miles: New report finds that great distances make prison visits few and far between
New report finds great distances discourage prison visits.
October 20, 2015
- New report: The Racial Geography of Mass Incarceration
New report answers the question: to what degree do the people in prison in a given county resemble the people who live in the surrounding county?.
July 15, 2015
- Shut out and locked up: New report provides the pre-incarceration incomes of the imprisoned
Incarcerated people are disproportionately shut out of the economy even before they are locked up.
July 9, 2015
- Securus ends its ban on in-person visits, shifts responsibility to sheriffs
Securus will no longer require that jails ban in-person visits, shifting moral responsibility to the sheriffs .
May 6, 2015
- New Study: Maryland taxpayers spend $288 million a year to incarcerate people from Baltimore City
Groundbreaking report maps incarceration and spending, suggests more effective alternative investments.
February 25, 2015
- Prison and Jail Video Visitation: A forward-looking idea implemented badly
New Prison Policy Initiative report finds video visitation actually punishes families.
January 14, 2015
- Massachusetts Legislature Calls on U.S. Census Bureau: Support Fair Redistricting, End Prison Gerrymandering
Dēmos and Prison Policy Initiative Applaud Senators Rosenberg, Chang-Diaz, and Dorcena Forry and Representatives Moran, Carvalho, and Rushing for Leadership to Protect One Person, One Vote Principle.
September 30, 2014
- Significant Victory in Fight to End "Prison Gerrymandering":
Judge Lagueux rules that lawsuit against prison gerrymandering in Cranston Rhode Island may go forward.
September 8, 2014
- New infographic: How does your state's use of the prison compare to the nations of the world?
How does your state compare to the international community when it comes to the use of incarceration? Not very well, says a new infographic and report by the Prison Policy Initiative and data artist Josh Begley.
June 11, 2014
- New report calls for an end to non-driving-related driver's license suspensions
Press Release for report Suspending Common Sense in Massachusetts: Driver's license suspensions for drug offenses unrelated to driving.
May 14, 2014
- New Report Shows Failure of Connecticut’s Sentencing Enhancement Zones
New report analyzes Connecticut's failed sentencing enhancement zones, reveals law doesn’t work, can’t work, and creates urban penalty.
April 3, 2014
- Our new briefing reveals "Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie"
Our newest briefing includes the first graphic we’re aware of that aggregates the disparate systems of confinement in this country into one big-picture chart.
March 12, 2014
- Residents and Advocates Sue City of Cranston Over Redistricting Plan That Counts Incarcerated Population as Residents
Cranston's 2012 redistricting plan for the City Council and School Committee violates the one person, one vote principle of the U.S. Constitution.
February 19, 2014
- "Prison Gerrymandering in Massachusetts" report reveals phantom constituents at town meeting
New report reveals prison gerrymandering at town meeting in 7 Massachusetts towns.
October 30, 2013
- Peter Wagner Awarded Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award by Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar
Peter is being recognized for his tireless decades-long work to expose the how the U.S. criminal justice system negatively impacts all people.
July 25, 2013
- New Report Pinpoints Fees as Source of Exploitation in the Prison Phone Industry
'Please Deposit All of Your Money: Kickbacks, Rates, and Hidden Fees in the Jail Phone Industry' casts a light on the dark underbelly of the telecommunications industry.
May 8, 2013
- Report says Connecticut’s democracy harmed by Census, "prison gerrymandering"
Almost half of the state's prison population comes from the state's five largest cities, but almost two-thirds of the state’s prison cells are located in just five small towns.
April 17, 2013
- Virginia ends mandatory prison gerrymandering
Governor signs HB1339, changes law that required some counties to dilute the votes of county residents who did not live adjacent to a prison.
March 20, 2013
- More than 50 Organizations Call on Sheriff Brown to Reverse New Jail Mail Restriction
More than 50 national and local organizations sent a letter to Santa Barbara County, California, Sheriff Bill Brown asking him to cancel a proposed plan to prohibit people confined at the county jail from receiving letters from home.
March 8, 2013
- Over 200 organizations ask Census Bureau to develop solutions to "prison gerrymandering"
210 civil rights, voting rights and criminal justice organizations sent a letter calling on the U.S. Census Bureau to seize a timely opportunity to research alternative ways to count incarcerated people in the decennial Census.
February 14, 2013
- Jail Postcard-only Policies Should Be 'Returned to Sender,' Says New Report
The growing jail trend to ban letters and restrict mail to only postcards burdens families and deters communication that is essential for keeping people from reoffending after release.
February 7, 2013
- FCC proposes to regulate prison telephone industry
SumOfUs partners with the Prison Policy Initiative to deliver 36,690 petitions to the FCC calling for it to cap rates charged to families of incarcerated people.
November 15, 2012
- Federal government should protect poor families from prison telephone companies
The government must regulate the monopolistic prison phone industry to curb excessive phone rates. Setting rate caps would reduce recidivism by reinforcing family ties.
September 11, 2012
- Supreme Court upholds Maryland law ending prison-based gerrymandering; Huge victory for fair representation
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Maryland’s groundbreaking civil rights “No Representation Without Population Act.”.
June 25, 2012
- Advocates salute Virginia for changing law to allow counties to avoid prison-based gerrymandering
On Friday, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed HB13, giving more rural counties the option of avoiding prison-based gerrymandering.
March 27, 2012
- New York Law Ending Prison-Based Gerrymandering Stands: Plaintiffs Drop Challenge
New Yorkers enjoyed a clear victory today, as plaintiffs in the Little v. LATFOR case dropped their challenge of the 2010 state law ending prison-based gerrymandering.
March 16, 2012
- Counting prisoners as residents of rural prison towns for redistricting mirrors Southern strategy of counting slaves to increase representation in Congress, article says
A new article by John C. Drake, published in the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy explains the similarities between prison-based gerrymandering and the infamous 3/5 clause.
March 14, 2012
- NY Court of Appeals declines to hear direct appeal in suit against law ending prison-based gerrymandering
The New York Court of Appeals today declined to hear plaintiffs' direct appeal in Little v. LATFOR. .
February 14, 2012
- Federal Judges uphold Maryland law ending prison-based gerrymandering
One judge calls our amici brief "particularly impressive and persuasive".
December 27, 2011
- Civil Rights Groups File Amicus Brief Countering Misinformation About Maryland's "No Representation Without Population" Redistricting Law
The coalition amicus brief shows that Maryland's “No Representation Without Population” law is protective of minority voting rights.
December 5, 2011
- Albany Judge Upholds Law Ending Prison-Based Gerrymandering
New York Supreme Court Justice Eugene Devine today upheld New York's law ending prison-based gerrymandering in the Little v. LATFOR lawsuit.
December 2, 2011
- Civil Rights Groups Take Stand for Maryland's "Prisoners of the Census" Redistricting Law
PPI and other civil rights groups announced that they will file an amicus brief to defend the “No Representation Without Population Act,” which ended prison-based gerrymandering in Maryland and is currently being challenged before a federal court in Fletcher v. Lamone.
November 18, 2011
- With Governor Brown's signature, California becomes 4th state to outlaw prison-based gerrymandering
The non-profit non-partisan Prison Policy Initiative hails California Governor Brown for signing AB 420 in to law on Friday.
October 9, 2011
- ADVISORY: Tomorrow (10/4) Civil Rights Groups to Defend Law Ending Prison-Based Gerrymandering in NY Supreme Court Hearing
Attorneys for the fifteen voters from around New York State who have joined the legal defense of New York’s law ending prison-based gerrymandering will present oral arguments at a hearing in New York Supreme Court tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 4.
October 3, 2011
- Detailed demographics of correctional populations now available for nation
Database prepared by PPI for redistricting professionals provides detailed demographics for the correctional population, including race, age and gender.
September 13, 2011
- California Senate passes bill to end prison-based gerrymandering
Prison Policy Initiative and Demos applaud the California Senate for passing AB 420, a bill to end prison-based gerrymandering.
August 31, 2011
- Civil Rights Groups Answer Summary Judgment Motion in Prison-Based Gerrymandering Lawsuit
Attorneys for 15 NY voters filed papers today asking Judge Devine to grant motion for summary judgment and uphold law ending prison-based gerrymandering.
August 19, 2011
- Judge Allows Civil Rights Organizations Representing Voters to Defend Law Ending Prison-Based Gerrymandering
NY judge allows civil rights organizations representing 15 voters join the Attorney General in defending NY law ending prison-based gerrymandering.
August 11, 2011
- Civil Rights Organizations File Motion to Defend Law Ending Prison-Based Gerrymandering
Voters and Community groups intervene in suit to ensure that all New Yorkers are equally represented in state and local legislatures.
May 17, 2011
- Advocates Hail Census Bureau's Release of Data to Assist in Correcting Prison-Based Gerrymandering
New Data Will Boost State and Local Efforts to Draw Fairer Districts.
April 20, 2011
- Court Should Reject Lawsuit Seeking to Manipulate Prison Populations in New York Redistricting
Press Release: Court Should Reject Lawsuit - Voting Rights Groups Support Improved Rules for Counting Incarcerated Persons.
April 6, 2011
- Coalition Praises Lawmakers for Ending Prison Gerrymandering
New York's Coalition to End Prison-Based Gerrymandering praises lawmakers for ending prison-based gerrymandering in New York.
August 4, 2010
- New York to correct miscount of incarcerated people
New law caps decade-long effort to improve fairness and accuracy of data used for state and local redistricting.
August 3, 2010
- Delaware Passes Law to Count Incarcerated Persons at their Home Addresses for Redistricting
Becomes Second State To Adopt Reform Ensuring Fairness and Accuracy of Redistricting.
July 7, 2010
- Claiming prisoners as Cranston constituents has a downside for Rhode Island city's voting rights
The residents of Cranston who don't live next to the state's prison complex have their votes diluted in the city council, charges a new report.
April 13, 2010
- Maryland enacts law to count incarcerated people at their home addresses
First-in-nation law will improve fairness and accuracy of the Census data used for redistricting.
April 13, 2010
- Representatives Lawlor and Holder-Winfield announce legislation to end prison-based gerrymandering
Press release for report and event at Yale Law School.
March 31, 2010
- Census Bureau counts Minnesota's incarcerated population in the wrong place; access to democracy distorted
New report identifies harm of prison-based gerrymandering in Minnesota.
March 9, 2010
- Advocates Commend Census Bureau for Enhancing States' Access to Data on Prison Populations in 2010 Census
Census Bureau commits to a new data product that will enable states and counties to avoid prison-based gerrymandering.
February 10, 2010
- Report on prison-based gerrymandering in Illinois released
A new report on prison-based gerrymandering in Illinois examines how the Census Bureau's prison miscount harms democracy in the state and county government.
February 2, 2010
- Census Bureau counts Massachusetts prisoners in wrong place; access to democracy distorted
Report finds that crediting prisoners to the prison towns leads to unequal distributions of political power within Massachusetts.
October 8, 2009
- Census Bureau counts Oklahoma prisoners in wrong place; Access to state and county government distorted
Report finds 7 Okla. House districts meet federal minimum population requirements only because prison inmates are used to pad the districts' populations.
September 25, 2009
- Census Bureau policy costs urban Pennsylvania political clout in legislature
Report finds that crediting prisoners to the location of the prison leads to unequal distribution of political power within Pennsylvania.
June 26, 2009
- Report says sentencing enhancement zones fail to protect children, increase racial disparities in incarceration
Report finds Mass. law requiring mandatory sentence of at least two years for certain drug offenses committed within 1,000 feet of schools is backfiring.
July 26, 2008
- Census Bureau counts Wisconsin prisoners in wrong place; access to state and county government distorted
March 1, 2008
- Prisoners in the Census skew county government in Tennessee
Report finds that crediting prisoners to the location of the prison leads to unequal distribution of political power within Tennessee county governments.
February 20, 2008
- Census Bureau glitch skews School Board; Dilutes votes in 5 of 6 Regional School Unit #13 towns
The new RSU 13 School District gives one of its six towns disproportionate influence because the town used to contain the Maine State Prison.
January 20, 2008
- International Committee Urged to Scrutinize U.S. Census Practices That Dilute Vote of Minority Populations
Census Bureau’s counting of prisoners in their districts of incarceration rather than their home districts leads to violation of international treaty.
December 13, 2007
- Senator Schneiderman, the Prison Policy Initiative and Other Elected Officials and Advocates Call on Census to Count Prisoners in Their Home Communities
Senator Schneiderman and other elected officials announce national letter-writing campaign to urge Census Bureau policy change on prison population count.
October 18, 2007
- Prisoners in the Census skew county government in New York
Report explains that New York counties violate state constitution by relying on Census data that counts prisoners as residents of the prison location.
July 18, 2007
- New article from Northwestern University Law School demonstrates viability of state-based solution to federal failures in decennial census
Census miscount of prisoners skews legislative power across nation, but states can adjust Census data to use actual resident populations in redistricting.
January 3, 2007
- National Academies report calls for Census Bureau to collect alternative addresses for people in prison
National Academies releases report calling for the Census Bureau to begin collecting the home addresses of incarcerated people.
September 14, 2006
- Better Ballots: 2006 New York Voter Education Guide Launched
Voter guide informs New York voters to increase civic participation, especially in communities disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system.
August 10, 2006
- America's prison explosion exhibited at international map exhibition
New map showing prison expansion across the United States over the previous century is exhibited at international map exhibition in A Coruña Spain.
July 14, 2005
- Census treatment of incarcerated felons unfairly dilutes voting strength of non-prison communities
Second Circuit US Court of Appeals hears arguments in 2 cases alleging New York's felon disenfranchisement laws violate Voting Rights Act and Constitution.
June 22, 2005
- Federal appeals court urged to consider census-based dilution of minority voting strength when weighing legality of prisoner disenfranchisement scheme
Amicus brief highlights New York's redistricting practice of crediting some locations with additional population based on disenfranchised prisoners.
February 2, 2005
- Census Bureau's method of counting prisoners steals political clout from Las Vegas and Reno
Report finds that crediting prisoners to the location of the prison leads to unequal distribution of political power within Nevada.
December 15, 2004
- Census Bureau policy costs Montana's cities population, legislative clout
Report finds that crediting prisoners to the location of the prison leads to unequal distribution of political power within Montana.
December 14, 2004
- Census Bureau policy costs Texas' cities population, legislative clout
Report finds that crediting prisoners to the location of the prison leads to unequal distribution of political power within Texas.
November 8, 2004
- Report highlights racially disparate impact of barring Massachusetts prisoners from voting
The report shows that Blacks are disenfranchised in Massachusetts at a rate 6 times higher than for Whites.
October 31, 2004
- Students have right to vote in local elections; New report studies impact of New York students in the Census and redistricting
Report finds students should be allowed to vote in local elections because these communities owe their political clout to students' presence in Census data.
October 6, 2004
- Census Bureau Policy Costs Ohio's Cities Population; Urban Residents Lose Political Clout in Legislature
Report finds that crediting prisoners to the location of the prison leads to unequal distribution of political power within Ohio.
July 6, 2004
- New study says how the Census counts prisoners frustrates accurate use of data
First national analysis of how Census counts of incarcerated people distorts Census data, includes county population size, growth, race, ethnicity, gender and income.
April 13, 2004
- Prisoner census counts skew population and political representation: Impact on communities to be examined at Census Bureau symposium
Attendees of the Census Bureau Symposium to be addressed on how Census counts of prisoners impact legislative redistricting.
February 28, 2004
- Study Says Prison Populations Skew New York Districts;
City loses, rural legislators gain, from new districts
A Prison Policy Initiative report finds that the proposed New York State legislative districts are based on miscounting urban prisoners as rural residents.
April 22, 2002