Prison Writing Resource

PEN Prison Writing Program
Founded in 1971, the PEN Prison Writing Program believes in the restorative and rehabilitative power of writing, by providing hundreds of inmates across the country with writing handbooks, skilled writing teachers, audiences for their work through publications and readings, an annual writing contest and more.

Long-Term Solitary Confinement

Hellhole: The United States holds tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement. Is this torture?The New Yorker, 3/30/2009:
...The problem of isolation goes beyond ordinary loneliness and into actual measurable, physical brain damage... as impaired as one that has incurred a traumatic injury... In much the same way that a previous generation of Americans countenanced legalized segregation, ours has countenanced legalized torture. And there is no clearer manifestation of this than our routine use of solitary confinement—on our own people in a supermax prison.... Read more»
Solitary Watch is an innovative website that provide the first centralized, comprehensive source of information on solitary confinement in the United States. Solitary Watch hosts resources including court cases; laws; journal and newspaper articles; video; advocacy organizations; writings by prisoners and more.

Stop Max
The STOPMAX Campaign, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in a partership with other organizations, works to eliminate the use of isolation and segregation in U.S. prisons.

Women and Prison

Women in Prison Project of the Correctional Association of New York
Created in 1991, the Women in Prison Project is the arm of the Correctional Association of New York dedicated to addressing the effects of the New York's criminal justice policies on women and their families. Under the New York State Legislative mandate, the Women in Prison Project has the unique authority to monitor conditions inside women's correctional facilities in New York State. The Project publishes reports; manages ReConnect, a leadership training program for formerly incarcerated women; and coordinates the Coalition for Women Prisoners, a NY alliance of over 100 organizations.

California Coalition for Women Prisoners
CCWP is a grassroots social justice organization, with members inside and outside prison, that challenges the institutional violence imposed on women, transgender people, and communities of color by the prison industrial complex (PIC). We see the struggle for racial and gender justice as central to dismantling the PIC and we prioritize the leadership of the people, families, and communities most impacted in building this movement.

Women and Prison of BeyondMedia Education
The Women and Prison project is a website, installation + zine created entirely from the work + lives of America's incarcerated women.

Prison Rape

"Prison Rape and the Government"
By David Kaiser and Lovisa Stannow, The New York Review of Books, February 23, 2011
There is a human rights crisis in our own country of prison sexual abuse. The Justice Department says in 2008 that more than 216,600 people were sexually abused in prisons and jails and, in the case of at least 17,100 of them, in juvenile detention. Overall, that's almost six hundred people a day—twenty-five an hour. These figures count people who were abused, not instances of abuse; previous BJS studies suggest that victims endure an average of three to five attacks each per year. Congress unanimously passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), a law responding to the problem. Read more»

"Sexual Abuse by Prison and Jail Staff Proves Persistent, Pandemic"
By Gary Hunter, Prison Legal News (PLN)
Prison Legal News has long reported on human rights violations of prisoners. Their latest publication on prison rape includes recent reports from 39 states, which constitute only a fraction of the tragic truth about rape and sexual abuse by prison and jail workers. Read more»

Just Detention International (formerly Stop Prisoner Rape)
Prisoner rape is torture under international law. Since 1980, JDI has worked to end the sexual abuse of detainees, in the U.S. and around the world. At the heart of JDI's mission lies a conviction that when the government removes someone's freedom, it takes on the absolute responsibility to protect that person's safety. No matter what crime someone might have committed, rape is not part of the penalty.