Share a memory: 
As you explore the website, you’ll see comment boxes after every blog post. Use this space to share personal stories, photos, and recollections of places, people, or themes featured in the post. You’ll see fields [places] for your name and email address. If you want to remain unidentified to members of the public who visit this website, feel free to write ‘anonymous’.

Share your knowledge:
The “Do You Know?” section features specific questions that have come up in our research. Some of them are queries, others are hypotheses, and some are simply conflicts in evidence.  Help us explore these questions by sharing what you already know or conducting your own research. Offer your ideas and answers in the comment box on the bottom of each page.  Once a year, we’ll offer a prize to the person who has offered the most assistance through this section!  We’ll announce the prize soon and the winner for 2013 in December.

Share your expertise:
If you’re a researcher, historian, or have detailed knowledge about a particular prison site, and want to join the Prison Public Memory Project Team to work on a prison site in your community, please get in touch with us.  Send a brief outline of your ideas and the site you want to investigate to We’ll get back to you once we’ve reviewed your proposal (within 1 – 3 weeks) and look forward to learning more.

Participate in activities and events:
Look in the What’s New section of this website for announcements of activities and events sponsored by the Prison Public Memory Project and local organizations. Activities and events might include community-based conversations, listening parties, story and photo shares, lectures, film nights, art installations, exhibitions, theatrical productions, special programs for youth and older adults, and more…

Make a contribution:
The Prison Public Memory Project relies on generous contributions from individuals and organizations through donations of time and/or money. Your contributions are greatly valued.  If you would like to share your skills and time as a volunteer or would like to participate through your workplace or through your school or university as an intern, contact us at with details including where you live, how many hours per week/month you are able to commit, the name of your workplace, school or university if applicable, and a brief bio with your phone number so we may get in touch with you.

Send tax-deductible contributions to us care of our fiscal sponsor, Conjunction Arts, a non-profit arts organization:
Prison Public Memory Project c/o Conjunction Arts, 62 Washington Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11205
Please make check out to ‘Conjunctions Arts’ with ‘PPMP’ in the memo line of the check. Thank You!


Have another idea about how you would like to get involved? Please let us know at

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To get involved around prison issues nationally or in New York, please visit links to the organizations listed below:


Organizations Addressing Prison Issues Today: National | New York


— The W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI)

The W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI) is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect and improve the lives of youth of color, poor youth and the well-being of their communities by reducing the adverse impacts of public and private youth-serving systems to ensure fairness and equity throughout the juvenile justice system. The BI has worked in more than 40 jurisdictions nationally and achieved significant results in reducing racial and ethnic disparities. The BI model is dynamic and innovative because it proves that reducing disparities is a solvable problem.

— Campaign for Youth Justice  —

The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ)  is dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under 18 in the adult criminal justice system.

The Campaign works in partnership with state-based campaigns in a number of states. We serve as a clearinghouse of information on youth prosecuted as adults and make our tools and resources available to those interested in learning and taking action on an issue that personally affects them.

— National Institute of Corrections —

The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons.  We provide training, technical assistance, information services, and policy/program development assistance to federal, state, and local corrections agencies.  Through cooperative agreements, we award funds to support our program initiatives. We also provide leadership to influence correctional policies, practices, and operations nationwide in areas of emerging interest and concern to correctional executives and practitioners as well as public policymakers.

— Drug Policy Alliance  —

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s leading organization promoting alternatives to current drug policy that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.  Our supporters are individuals who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. Together we advance policies that reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and seek solutions that promote safety while upholding the sovereignty of individuals over their own minds and bodies. We work to ensure that our nation’s drug policies no longer arrest, incarcerate, disenfranchise and otherwise harm millions – particularly young people and people of color who are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

— Justice Policy Institute —

Justice Policy Institute is a national nonprofit organization that changes the conversation around justice reform and advances policies that promote wellbeing and justice for all people and communities. Our research and analyses identify effective programs and policies and we disseminate our findings to the media, policymakers and advocates, and provide training and technical assistance supports to people working for justice reform.

Justice Strategies

Justice Strategies is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to providing analysis and solutions to advocates and policymakers pursuing more humane and cost-effective approaches to criminal justice and immigration reform. Justice Strategies conducts research on sentencing and correctional policy, the political economy of incarceration, and the detention and imprisonment of immigrants. In addition to policy expertise, Justice Strategies offers expert advice in campaign development, and grassroots organizing.

National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women

The National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, a nonprofit organization founded in 1987, is a resource and advocacy center for battered women charged with crimes related to their battering. In addition to providing individualized technical assistance, National Clearinghouse staff conduct training seminars for members of the criminal justice and advocacy communities, and for the general public, regarding the unique experiences of battered women defendants.

— Prison Fellowship —

Prison Fellowship’s mission is to seek the transformation of prisoners and their reconciliation to God, family, and community through the power and truth of Jesus Christ.  To best accomplish this mission, Prison Fellowship has created a holistic model called Transformational Ministry, which draws upon a number of coordinated and complementary programs and services. Prison Fellowship’s key method in accomplishing this mission is equipping and empowering local churches and volunteers to reach out to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families with the love and hope of Christ.

Prison Policy Initiative

The non-profit, non-partisan Prison Policy Initiative documents the impact of mass incarceration on individuals, communities, and the national welfare. We produce accessible and innovative research to empower the public to participate in improving criminal justice policy.

— Public Safety Performance Project —
by PEW Center on The States

Over the past two decades, spending on corrections has jumped from $11 billion to more than $50 billion.  It’s the second fastest growing state budget category behind Medicaid–and one out every 100 adults is now behind bars. But for all of this spending, we are not getting an adequate return in terms of public safety.  In 2006, the Pew Center on the States launched the Public Safety Performance Project to help states advance fiscally sound, data-driven policies and practices in sentencing and corrections that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable and control corrections costs. The project has released landmark reports on correctional populations in America and the resulting demands on state budgets.

— Right on Crime —
The Conservative Case for Reform: Fighting Crime, Prioritizing Victims, and Protecting Taxpayers

Conservatives are known for being tough on crime, but we must also be tough on criminal justice spending. That means demanding more cost-effective approaches that enhance public safety. A clear example is our reliance on prisons, which serve a critical role by incapacitating dangerous offenders and career criminals but are not the solution for every type of offender. And in some instances, they have the unintended consequence of hardening nonviolent, low-risk offenders—making them a greater risk to the public than when they entered.

— The Sentencing Project —

The Sentencing Project is a national organization working for a fair and effective criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing law and practice, and alternatives to incarceration. The Sentencing Project was founded in 1986 to provide defense lawyers with sentencing advocacy training and to reduce the reliance on incarceration. Since that time, The Sentencing Project has become a leader in the effort to bring national attention to disturbing trends and inequities in the criminal justice system with a successful formula that includes the publication of groundbreaking research, aggressive media campaigns and strategic advocacy for policy reform.

— VERA Institute of Justice —

The Vera Institute of Justice combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety.  Vera is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit center for justice policy and practice, with offices in New York City, Washington, DC, and New Orleans. Our projects and reform initiatives, typically conducted in partnership with local, state, or national officials, are located across the United States and around the world.

— Women + Prison: A Site for Resistance —

Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance is a forum for public discourse about the ways that incarceration affects women’s lives and the work that people are doing to dismantle systems of violence and oppression. It collects and presents the stories of women’s incarceration, which is linked to a multitude of interconnected issues facing poor women, drug-addicted women, women of color, lesbians, and women in prostitution, including interpersonal and state violence, poverty, racism, reproductive rights, homophobia, harassment, lack of quality healthcare, and homelessness.


— Correctional Association of New York —

The Correctional Association of New York is an independent, non-profit organization founded by concerned citizens in 1844 and granted unique authority by the New York State Legislature to inspect prisons and to report its findings and recommendations to the legislature, the public and the press. Utilizing a strategic model of research, policy analysis, prison monitoring, coalition-building, leadership-development and advocacy, the Correctional Association  strives to make the administration of justice in New York State more fair, efficient and humane.

— Hour Children —

The Hour Children Working Women Program (HWWP)  is a program that helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children successfully rejoin the community, reunify with their families, and build healthy, independent and secure lives. Among many things, they provide housing, job readiness workshops and we also help our clients find and maintain jobs.

— The Fortune Society —

The Fortune Society is a nonprofit social service and advocacy organization, founded in 1967, whose mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration, thus strengthening the fabric of our communities.

Fortune works to create a world where all who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated can become positive, contributing members of society. We do this through a holistic, one-stop model of service provision that includes: Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI), drop-in services, employment services, education, family services, health services, housing services, substance abuse treatment, transitional services such as the Rikers Island Discharge Enhancement (R.I.D.E.) program, recreation, and lifetime aftercare.

New York Correction History Society

Founded in 1999, NYCHS’ mission is to pursue, preserve and promote the history of correctional services in New York – city, county, state, federal, including Correction, Parole, Probation, Juvenile Justice, Alternatives to Incarceration, and Transitional Services.

— New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision —

The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, guided by the Departmental Mission, is responsible for the confinement and habilitation of approximately 56,000 offenders held at 60 state facilities including the 915 bed Willard Drug Treatment Campus.  It’s mission is to improve public safety by providing a continuity of appropriate treatment services in safe and secure facilities where offenders’ needs are addressed and they are prepared for release, followed by supportive services under community supervision to facilitate a successful completion of their sentence.

— New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, Inc. —

NYSCOPBA represents over 26,000 New York State employees and retirees from the Security Services Unit. Our Union was formed in May 1998 and since that time has provided superior representation to our membership under the independent and democratic model.  Our objectives are to improve the terms and conditions of employment, protect our members contractual rights, provide high quality representation in the collective bargaining process, communicate effectively with the membership, achieve legislative gains, and to promote the overall welfare of our members.

— New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group —

The New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG) is a board of juvenile justice experts from across New York State that is charged with supervising the preparation and administration of New York State’s federal juvenile justice and delinquency prevention plan.  Our website is a home for comprehensive New York State juvenile justice information.  It is designed to share what we know about the New York State juvenile justice system; provide information about legal, policy and funding developments; offer convenient access to the training provided at  JJAG sponsored events; and enhance transparency in the JJAG’s work to promote accountability, effectiveness, and innovation in New York State’s juvenile justice system.

Osborne Association

The Osborne Association has an 80-year history of leadership in working with currently and formerly incarcerated men, women, and children and families affected by the incarceration of a loved one. We are known for developing effective programs that offer a broad range of treatment, education, and vocational services to more than 6,000 people each year.  As the oldest and most experienced organization in New York State serving men and women involved with the criminal justice system, Osborne operates at several sites throughout the state, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Rikers Island, and in several state correctional facilities.

— Prison Families of New York —

Specialists in the effects of NYS incarceration on prisoners’ children and families and how to best encourage their success, Family Strengthening through Information, Support and Community-Building, Prison Family and Re-entry Resource Development for Schools, Communities, Churches, Government (NY State and Federal).

Prisoner Action Network

Prison Action Network seeks to unite people who are incarcerated in NYS, people who have a loved one in a NYS prison, and people who care about the impact incarceration has upon our society. Once we learn we are not alone we can begin to work together to create a safer and more just society.

— Women On The Rise Telling Herstory (WORTH)  —

WORTH is an association of currently and formerly incarcerated women who have been empowered by our own experiences. Through leadership development, organizing, mentoring, mutual support and telling our stories. WORTH transforms the lives of women affected by incarceration and changes public perception and policy.

— Women’s Prison Association —

WPA is the nation’s oldest service and advocacy organization committed to helping women with criminal justice histories.  Through our program services, we serve 2,500 clients, and their families, a year.  We take a dual approach to the issues facing criminal-justice involved women, combining a commitment to changing the circumstances of women’s lives one-by-one with a commitment to changing the systems that create opportunities and barriers for our clients.