Women and literacy
The First Year Out June 2020 profile of Makeda Davis, returning, after seven years in prison, to life outside, by Stephanie Clifford, photographs by Gillian Laub.
Mentoring as a Component of Reentry, 2017 guide designed to: provide recommendations for community-based organizations wishing to integrate adult mentoring into existing reentry programming; offer guidance on building effective partnerships with correctional agencies, and promote peer learning by highlighting reentry programs that use promising practices in adult mentoring, including peer mentoring.
American Prison Writing Archive; the largest collection to date of non-fiction writing by currently incarcerated Americans writing about their experience inside.
Criminal Justice resources from the Bell Foundation; UK based policy and pedagogy resources
Brave New Films on sentencing reform and healing after trauma; how love and learning support those leaving prison. Mass incarceration accomplishes nothing lasting or positive to make communities stronger or safer
PRISON ARTS RESOURCE PROJECT An Annotated Bibliography by Amanda Gardner, Ph.D., Lori L. Hager, Ph.D., University of Oregon and Grady Hillman, Southwestern Correctional Arts Network May 2014 (revised December 2015)
Improving Language, Improving Lives: Resources for ESOL tutors participatory approaches, materials and strategies for ESOL and other adult learners in and out of prison contexts, focusing on the areas of civics, finance and health
Beyond Prison, a collection of documentary stories featuring evidence-based, vibrant models of transformative prison work, including testimonies from leaders in corrections, research, and profiles of cost-effective, transformative methodologies in US prisons.
Transforming Prisons, Restoring Lives Final Recommendations of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections. January 2016
Report: Mentally ill inmates are routinely abused by corrections officers Human Rights Watch says mentally ill inmates shackled, shocked or pepper sprayed for nonthreatening behavior
Prison Studies Project bringing together students from Harvard and students in prison. Each is part of a curriculum for college credit; classes focus on urban sociology, race, ethics, and transformative learning.
Italian prisoners get cut sentences for reading as UK 'book ban' continues 8 May, 2014, the Independent
the New Jim Crow: An Interview With Michelle Alexander - Rethinking Schools interviews Michelle Alexander about the school to prison pipeline.
Transcending Through Education Foundation - The Foundation seeks to provide resources and support for incarcerated individuals in Rhode Island state prisons to obtain higher education. Through a powerful narrative of self-empowerment and giving back, the Foundation seeks to reverse the School-to-Prison Pipeline and establish the Prison-to-School Pipeline.
Adrian Clarke, in the Paris Review, encodes narratives and makes photos of formerly incarcerated women here.
Rhode Island Department of Corrections: Cost per Offender -
FY 2012 Actual Expenditures (pdf document) - Adrian Clarke, in the Paris Review, encodes narratives and makes photos of formerly incarcerated women here.
Loury, Rich serve on NAS imprisonment panel - the National Academy of Sciences has convened a
committee that counts Brown professors Glenn Loury and Josiah D. Rich
among its members. They argue that imprisonment is often the
consequence of society’s failure to address underlying noncriminal
problems. read more here.
Daily Comment, June 14, 2012: June 14, 2012
in Prison: Lessons from the United Kingdom By Becky Mer - This report offers lessons from arts in criminal justice
in the United Kingdom. Designed as a practitioner guide, this work
draws on perspectives from arts practitioners, program participants,
and staff at secure facilities, including prisons, secure hospitals,
young offender institutions, and immigration detention centres. The
report is supplemented by a directory of British programs and an
extensive bibliography including books, publications, and films
Work after prison:
from the transitional jobs reentry demonstration is the first major
evaluation of the multi-year "Transitional Jobs Reentry Demonstration"
project funded by the Joyce
Foundation. MDRC is the lead evaluator in a team that includes
the Urban Institute and the University of Michigan. The project
programs that provide temporary subsidized jobs, support services, and
job placement help. The project's purpose is to test
transitional jobs as a promising approach to regular paid employment
for ex-offenders and other disadvantaged groups.
A key general finding is that transitional jobs, as currently designed and operated, do not sufficiently help people get or retain permanent jobs, nor do they have an impact on recidivism. Only about one-third of the participants was employed in the formal labor market at the end of a year. However, it is seen as a positive indicator that about 85 percent of the men assigned to the program actually worked in an income-subsidized transitional job, reflecting genuine eagerness to work. And the evaluators are inclined to think that subsidized transitional employment programs could be effective if they were strengthened with components that provide basic and workplace skills instruction and if better job- and post-placement services were built in.
The project website is posted at http://www.mdrc.org/project/transitional-jobs-reentry-demonstration#featured_content
The Caging of America Why do we lock up so many people? by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker, 30 January, 2012
The Prison Arts Coalition - an independent space providing information and resources for people creating art in and around the American criminal justice system.
Prison Photography - words and
Teaching Film in Prison - Utne Reader on Ann Snitow’s terrific essay in Dissent
Perspectives on Incarceration - Panel of the 2011 Theories in Action conference at Brown University
Tim Robbins' Actors' Gang - September 18th LA Times article; more about the Actors' Gang here. another article, Safety Valve for Inmates, the Arts, Fades in California, NY Times, 30 June, 2011.
Writers in Prison Network Ltd puts writers and creative artists into prisons to deliver creative writing, drama, video, music, oral storytelling, journalism, creative reading and publishing programmes.
Study: Prisons Lack Heroin Addiction
Treatment Despite Proven Benefits
what it costs, in dollars
The Second Chance Act, signed into law in 2008 - federal legislation designed to ensure the safe and successful return of prisoners to the community, passed by the US Senate, March 11, 2008.
behind Bars: AIDS Opens the Door, (preview
of) an article written by Kathy
Educational Review, Volume 63:2 (Summer 1993), and collected in
Enriching ESOL Pedagogy: Readings and Activities for Engagement,
Reflection, and Inquiry.
National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice - "examines the overrepresentation of youth with
disabilities at-risk for contact with the courts or already involved in
the juvenile delinquency system. We provide professional development
and technical assistance, conduct research and disseminate resources in
three areas of national significance: prevention of school
failure and delinquency, education and special education for
detained and committed youth, and transition services for youth
returning to schools and communities."
Voices - "an
inmate-written book, made to encourage reading and writing in
prisons. Within these pages twelve convict-authors reveal the
dramatic details of their lives and their struggles." Teachers' guide now on line
(Paperback edition here).
activistscholarshiplists.riseup.net - unmoderated listserv for
academics dedicated to putting their scholarly work at the service of
progressive movements, including anti-racist, feminist, environmental
justice, economic justice, disability rights, anti-globalization and
immigrant rights movements. Postings on roles, dilemmas, costs,
pedagogies and methodologies of activist scholarship are welcomed.
Voices from the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories - interviews, photographs and related documents from the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
Open Doors (formerly known as Rhode Island's Family Life Center) - resources to assist ex-offenders and their families by providing long-term holistic case management services starting prior to release from prison and extending up to 18 months thereafter.
The Blessing Way - a faith-based 501c.3 providing personalized support and guidance for men and women reentering Providence, RI or the greater Providence area from prison or drug treatment facilities.
Re-Entry Policy Council - resources, examination[s]of the many dimensions of prisoners returning home.
Dr. Anita Wilson - prison ethnographer whose general interests include all aspects of literacy-oriented activities, practices and artefacts within custodial settings. Site includes links to her writing and other useful resources.
At-Risk Youth, Juvenile Justice, Violence Prevention, Youth Courts and Service-Learning: Selected Resources
Back to School: A Guide to Continuing your Education after prison; (PDF document); more about the resource (and others) here.
Changing Minds: The impact of college in a maximum-security prison with thanks to Andy Nash - multiauthor study of positive impact of college on incarcerated women.
Education - Focus on Basics,
Volume 7, Issue D September
COPIAN Corrections Collection - resources from the Canadian National Adult Literacy Database
Correctional Service of Canada - including listings of programs and relevant resources.
Education Not Incarceration - a group of teachers, parents, students, and community members outraged by the current cuts in education funding.
- "Staffed primarily by ex-prisoners, The Fortune Society is a
community-based organization dedicated to educating the public about
criminal justice issues, and the root causes of crime. We also help
and at-risk youth break the cycle of crime and incarceration through a
broad range of services."
Incarcerated Parents and Their Families: A Review of the Literature
The European Prison Education Association - organisation "of prison educators, administrators, governors, researchers and other professionals whose interests lie in promoting and developing education and related activities in prisons throughout Europe in accordance with the recommendations of the Council of Europe." Site includes research, resource, events and other links to related information.
Transition to the Community: Prison Literacy Programs and Factors Which Lead to Success in the Community - Prepared forHuman Resources Development Canada, National Literacy Secretariat by Russell James Loewen October 1997. from the abstract: "Conclusions reached as a result of this research point to the importance of a safe and respectful prison school environment in order for learning to occur. The type of learning environment and subject content in prison schools are influenced, in part, by the philosophical orientation of teachers, prevailing penal philosophy, goals of the local prison administration, and the security level of the prison."
Correctional Education from the US Department of EducationLINCS correctional education resources - materials addressing working with adults in prisons, jails, community, and juvenile settings; program planning and career counseling for adults in re-entry programs; and designing instruction and program services for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated adults.
English Language Instruction for Incarcerated Youth Margo DelliCarpini, Stony Brook University, May, 2003 NCLE digest
Field Notes, Volume 12, Prison Issue - adult educators' writings about teaching and learning in prisons.
Hard Road Home - An Independent Lens film documenting the work of Exodus Transitional Community in East Harlem, and its work with men and women re-entering communities.
How Do You Spell Murder - a film by Alan and Susan Raymond documenting a literacy program at Trenton State Prison.
November 16, 2001 Inmate Education Is Found to Lower Risk of New Arrest by Tamar Lewin , New York Times.
[see also the Criminal Justice Initiative of the Soros Foundation, whose Open Society Institute undertook the study described in the article]
Incarceration to Inclusion : Looking at the Transition from Correctional Facility Program to Community Based Adult Education (overview) - abstract of a report written in Western Canada.
Interview with Christian Parenti on the US Prison System (and more on Parenti)
Office of Correctional Education (OCE) - information on funding & technical assistance for state & local correctional education agencies that provide quality educational programming to incarcerated individuals
Participatory Literacy behind Bars: AIDS Opens the Door, (preview of) an article written by Kathy Boudin, Harvard Educational Review, Volume 63:2 (Summer 1993), and collected in Enriching ESOL Pedagogy: Readings and Activities for Engagement, Reflection, and Inquiry.
Prison Literacy Programs, ERIC Digest no 159, by Sandra Kerka, ED383859 . 1995.
and what happens when you enter Prison Literacy Programs as a google search.
Prisoners, literacy practices and politics - Stephen Black. A literacy worker's analysis of corrections education and literacy over a span of year.Read a Book, Get Out of Jail, Leah Price, New York Times, February 26, 2009
Women in Prison, issues of gender
Correctional Service of Canada: Women Offender Programs and Issues - descriptions of programs for incarcerated women and well as full-text online reports re: women, violence, abuse and incarceration.
Women and Criminal Justice - ACLU resources
An Exclusive Interview with Susan Rosenberg upon her release from prison - Deomcracy NOW! radio broadcast, January 23, 2001.
of Activists: Prison Women's Writings as Change Agent for their
- Irene C. Baird
Now - Justice Now works with women prisoners and local
communities to build a safe, compassionate world without prisons.
Not Part of My Sentence: Violations of the rights of women in custody -- Amnesty International report describing violations of the internationally guaranteed human rights of women incarcerated in the United States
Low Newton - Adrian Clarke, in the Paris Review, encodes narratives and makes photos of formerly incarcerated women here.
Unlocking Options for Women: A Survey of Women in Cook
The online version of Women in Action No. 3, 2003, issue on Women in Prisons.
Women and Prison by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow - Article from The Nation (March 25, 2004) with links to other relevant resources.
Women and Social Movements in the United States,
editorial projects of primary documents addressing the history of women
in reform movements in the U.S. http://womhist.binghamton.edu
Women's Prison Association and Home - "a nonprofit agency working to create opportunities for change in the lives of women prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families. WPA provides programs through which women acquire the life skills necessary to end their involvement in the criminal justice system and to make positive, healthy choices for themselves and their families."
Women and Prison: site for resistance
parents, families, youth
Amachi: Mentoring Children of Prisoners in Philadelphia from PUBLIC/PRIVATE VENTURES - A unique partnership of secular and faith-based institutions, Amachi recruits volunteers from congregations to mentor children of prisoners. Looking at the role of the church in community, the report explores the implications of the Amachi experience for policymakers, funders, and others interested in starting similar programs. Amachi is a West African word that means “who knows but what God has brought us through this child.
Families against Mandatory Minimums Foundation - national nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to challenge inflexible and excessive penalties required by mandatory sentencing laws. FAMM promotes sentencing policies that give judges the discretion to distinguish between defendants and sentence them according to their role in the offense, seriousness of the offense and potential for rehabilitation. FAMM's 25,000 members include prisoners and their families, attorneys, judges, criminal justice experts and concerned citizens.
Families in Crisis, Inc. - founded to stabilize the family in crisis and to provide meaningful opportunities for change. We focus on the dynamics of the family unit and the significant role that family relationships play to help offenders rebuild their lives.
from National Public Radio:
1.5 million U.S. children have at least one parent in jail -
of article "Nearly 1.5 million American children have a parent
is in a state or federal prison -- in line with the nation's record
population, a U.S. Department of Justice study finds. Many of these
parents report that their children have not visited them..." with additional
Arts and Prison
C.D. Wright: Poems born in prison - In "One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana," the late poet and Professor of English C.D. Wright portrays voices and stories of incarcerated persons in three Louisiana penal institutions. Of the state prison at Angola - The Farm - Wright says, "If not for the wire and the guardhouse, you could think you were at a college."
If not art, then what? - on arts programs in Pennsylvania, California and New York, three states that provide arts programs for their inmates.
InsideOUT Writers and the Alethos Foundation - California-based writing project, with the mission, "performed by professional writers [of teaching] creative writing to incarcerated and at-risk youth so as to discourage youth violence, building in its place a spirit of honest introspection, respect of others, and a love of learning."
Arts Project of the University of Michigan, "committed to
work in the arts in Michigan Correctional Facilities. Our purpose is to
enhance creative opportunities for inmates and to bring them the
and skills that come with each art. We attempt to provide the best
Space in Prison for the Arts and Creative Expression (SPACE) was founded in 1992 by a group of women from Brown University interested in working in the Women's Division of the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institution. After 6 years of experimentation and evolution, the program has grown to offer both theater, creative writing, and visual arts workshops to inmates of the medium and minimum security facilities, the drug rehabilitation program, and the Training School for juveniles. The program is no longer supported by the Swearer Center for Public Service.
an article about SPACE, initially posted at the now-defunct at idealistoncampus - http://www.idealist.org/ioc/nftn-space.html
What I Want my Words to do to You - POV documentary by Madeleine Gavin, Judith Katz, and Gary Sunshine to air December 16, 2003: "The film focuses on a writing group led by Eve Ensler at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Ensler's classes have given birth to a powerful writing community in which women from strikingly different strata of society, all of whom are serving long sentences, help each other tell their stories. The film documents both the ... personal journey undertaken by the inmates to find and understand the words they need to use, and the power of those words to move the wider world. "
The Orange in the Orange : A Novella & Two Stories by Fielding Dawson, Jan 1995 - author draws on his experiences as facilitator of prison writing program
as a Poem: My Years Teaching Poetry at San Quentin"
by writer Judith Tannenbaum, September 2000 from
University Press. "As invigorating as it is tragic, the book takes the
inside the northern California penal facility and into the lives of the
men who live there. In her preface, available this month in the Reading
Room on the CAN Web site, Tannenbaum talks about how prison arts
work and what is expected of them, and about the joys and challenges of
asking incarcerated people to 'shape their deepest vision into word,
sound or movement, thus encouraging the birth of creative expression in
another human being.'"
Conversations: an anthology of the work of oral historian, Tony
Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing-A PEN American Center Prize Anthology Bell Gale Chevigny (Editor), et al / Hardcover / Published 1999
Prison Writing : In 20th-Century America H. Bruce Franklin(Editor), Tom Wicker / Paperback / Published 1998
Prisons and Social Justice
The Gatekeeper: Watch on the INS by Alisa Solomon Detainees Equal Dollars - The Rise in Immigrant Incarcerations drives a prison boom, The Village Voice, August 14 - 20, 2002 (the article itself is no longer online, but the link above leads to reference to and discussion of its findings)
Jails and Prisons - compilation of articles from the Nation
JUSTINFO, published the 1st and 15th of each
information from the NCJRS sponsoring agencies
Every Mothers Son - "In the late 1990s, three victims of police brutality made headlines around the country: Amadou Diallo, the young West African man whose killing sparked intense public protest; Anthony Baez, killed in an illegal choke-hold; and Gary (Gidone) Busch, a Hasidic Jew shot and killed outside his Brooklyn home. "Every Mother's Son" tells of the victims' three mothers who came together to demand justice and accountability."
Changes on Felony Disenfranchisement From: THE SENTENCING
National Alliance for Radical Prison Reform - Georgia-based group with the following mission: Repeal "three-strikes"-type legislation, harsh juvenile crime laws and other laws that target poor and and powerless people for incarceration; Advocate for prisoners' human rights and those of theirfamilies, and Promote programs for the re-entry, re-enfranchisement and economic self-sufficiency of former prisoners. (August, 2005 - all traces of NARPP sites have been removed from the web)
Prison Justice.ca - website for prison justice organizing in Vancouver, BC; a project of the Vancouver Prisoners' Justice Day Committee, Joint Effort and Books 2 Prisoners.
Terrorism and the constitution : sacrificing civil liberties in the name of national security - excerpts from the text by by David Cole and James X. Dempsey, The New Press, 2002 [review, with relevant web links]
Article on prison in Colorlines Magazine
Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe.
CURE - Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants, a non-profit nationwide organization dedicated to the reduction of crime through the reform of the criminal justice system. We are a prison and jail reform advocacy group headquartered in Washington, DC with chapters or affiliates in most states of the union.
Debt to Society - writings on prison and related issues in Mother Jones Magazine.
Minority Confinement Resource Center - project of the
of Iowa School of Social Work, with a mission of promoting
culturally responsive practice across human service systems through
research and evaluation, training and technical assistance, and information
Mass Imprisonment and the disappearing voters - Open Society Institute Forum focused on the impact of felony disenfranchisement laws in the United States. Moderated by Marc Mauer—a panel of criminal and social justice experts debated the issue of mass imprisonment and whether people convicted of felonies who have served their time should have the right to vote.
Mumia Abu-Jamal - numerous sites focused on writings, alerts and information on the struggle to free Mumia Abu-Jamal
The Prisons Foundation - "nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the arts and education behind bars and to working for law and prison reform. We publish a bimonthly periodical entitled, Freedom Now! which is popular among men and women in prison and those who care about them."
Prison Activists' Resource Center committed to exposing and challenging the institutionalized racism of the criminal injustice system and to further developing anti-racism as individuals and throughout our organization. Also includes subscription to listserv.
Prisons, Policy and Criminal Justice
Reforming Juvenile Justice - from The American Prospect
SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN PRISONS - 80% of the 1.7 million men and women behind bars are seriously involved with drug and alcohol abuse and the crime it spawns.
The National Center on Institutions and Alternatives - mission: "to help create a society in which all persons who come into contact with human service or correctional systems are provided an environment of individual care, concern and treatment. NCIA is dedicated to developing quality programs and professional services that advocate timely intervention and unconditional care."
The Secret Weapon of 2008 -
Felon re-enfranchisement trends across the country, Slate, Friday, April 27, 2007
prison industrial complex
Corrections Connections - online resource for corrections news and information; industry site
Corrections Corp of America - CCA, corrections management, investment opportunities.
google search: Corrections Corporation of
+ prisons", including numerous articles from numerous sources (e.g.
Watch, and,: Prisons
for Profit - December 99 article by Shirley Pasholk describing
the increased use of prisoners as below-minimum-wage workers and even
strikebreakers by U.S. corporations). Also see Christian
America and Vijay Prashad's Keeping
Up with the Dow Joneses, in which "Prashad examines
contradictions of the American economy. He assesses a range of related
issues:the oft-vaunted US economy, propped up by the rising debt of
and middle-class workers; welfare policies that punish those attempting
to escape the grip of debt and poverty; and a prison industry
regulates and houses the unemployed, as well as a reserve army of
Private prisons on the rise - Range of articles and resources addressing the increase in private prisons.
Wackenhut "Year after year, The Wackenhut Corporation delivers unrivaled business services to a growing list of commercial, industrial and government organizations." What exactly do they do
The National Park service presents Alcatraz Island - the official website.
Rhode Island Department of Corrections
RI DOC Inmate Handbook http://www.doc.ri.gov/documents/Inmate%20Handbook%20507.pdf
Rhode Island Training school http://www.dcyf.ri.gov/juvenile_corrections.php
last updated June 15, 2020
back to links