Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Provides information on sentencing, prisons, and legal news and works to reform mandatory sentencing laws. (See article War Games.)
1612 K St. NW, #1400
Washington, DC 20006
National Center on Institutions and Alternatives
Launched the Prison Reform Unity Project, the Pro Bono Support Project, and other efforts aimed at criminal justice reform. Provides training, technical assistance, research and direct services to criminal justice, social services, and mental health organizations and clients. (See article by founder Jerome Miller: The American Gulag.)
3125 Mt. Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA 22305
The Sentencing Project
A national leader in the development of alternative sentencing programs and in criminal justice policy reform. The Project's reports on inequities in the criminal justice system have received widespread media coverage, led to legislative hearings, and fostered programs that address racial and economic disparity in sentencing.
514 10th St. NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004
Prison Activist Resource Center
Builds action networks among educators, activists, prisoners, and prisoners' families; exposes human rights violations; and challenges the expansion of the prison-industrial complex. Also provides information about the death penalty, women in prison, political prisoners, youth, and the war on drugs.
PO Box 339, Berkeley, CA 94701
Human Rights Watch
Investigates human rights abuses in more than 70 countries. HRW campaigns for prisoners' rights and pressures governments to bring treatment of prisoners into compliance with international human rights standards.
350 5th Ave., 34th floor
New York, NY 10118-3299
Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants
Advocates for fair and humane treatment of prisoners, reduced reliance on incarceration, and a focus on alternatives. Projects have included a voter registration drive in the Baltimore Jail and a nationwide campaign to demand equitable telephone charges for inmates.
PO Box 2310, Washington, DC 20013
The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
Assists activists with outreach, research, media relations, legislation, and coalition building. The foundation's president, Eric E. Sterling, writes and lectures on criminal justice issues.
1225 Eye St. NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005
Southern Center for Human Rights
Challenges discrimination against people of color, the poor, and the disadvantaged in southern prisons by raising public awareness, working with community groups to develop nonviolent solutions to crime, and providing direct legal representation of prisoners.
83 Poplar St., NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
California Prison Focus
Identifies, monitors, and works to eradicate human rights abuses in California prisons. Advocates for inmates and their families, trains prisoners for self-advocacy, and works for the abolition of all US prisons.
2940 16th St. #307
San Francisco, CA 94103
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
CJCJ's core program, the Alternative Sentencing Program, makes sentencing recommendations to courts, parole boards, and agencies that encourage treatment, community service, and restitution and discourage incarceration.
1622 Folsom St., San Francisco
CA 94103, tel: 415/621-5661
Open Society Institute
Part of the Soros Foundations Network, the Open Society Institute's US programs include The Center on Crime, Communities, and Culture and The Lindesmith Center. Both seek to broaden the debate over drug policy, increase availability of drug treatment, foster effective and humane approaches to public safety, and reduce over-reliance on incarceration as a response to crime through research, seminars, and conferences.
400 West 59th St., New York,
NY 10019, tel: 212/548-0600
The November Coalition
A group of citizens, including drug war prisoners and their loved ones, who oppose America's war on drugs through public education campaigns.
795 South Cedar, Colville,
WA 99114, tel: 509/684-1550
Common Sense for Drug Policy
Uses media to facilitate coalition building and public education. Provides pro bono legal assistance to those affected by the drug war. Works to make marijuana medically available and to increase funding for needle-exchange programs.
3220 N St., NW, #141
Washington, DC 20007
The Drug Reform Coordination Network
Works for drug policy reform, including harm reduction, reform of sentencing and forfeiture laws, and promotion of an open debate on drug prohibition.
2000 P St. NW # 210
Washington, DC 20036
Media Awareness Project
An international network working for drug policy reform through media awareness.
PO Box 651, Porterville, CA 93258
Advocates legalizing marijuana.
1001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 710, Washington, DC, 20036
East Mennonite University—Conflict Transformation Program
Supports the development of peacebuilders through a master's degree program, a summer Peacebuilding Institute, and daily practice. Courses in restorative justice are taught by practitioners such as Howard Zehr.
1200 Park Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22802-2462
Alternatives to Violence Project
A worldwide association offering workshops in conflict resolution, responses to violence, and personal growth. The program includes workshops for community groups, businesses, social service agencies, youth organizations, prisoners, and others.
821 Euclid Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210
The American Friends Service Committee
A Quaker organization that advocates prisoner rights, promotes alternatives to incarceration, offers training in nonviolence and restorative justice, provides support groups for friends and families of inmates, and campaigns for abolition of the death penalty. Regional projects include a victim-offender reconciliation program and civilian review of law enforcement, including “Know Your Rights” trainings in schools.
1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102
The Garden Project
Empowers inmates to transform themselves and their communities through organic gardening, tree planting, and transitional employment. (See article Seeds of Change.)
Pier 28, San Francisco, CA 94105
tel: 415/ 243-8558
Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation
An organization of murder victims' families opposing the death penalty. MVFR conducts public education, policy reform, and victim support.
2161 Mass. Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
Campaign to End the Death Penalty
A grassroots campaign organized in local chapters across the US to oppose the death penalty.
PO Box 25730, Chicago, IL 60625
International Conference on Penal Abolition
Challenges current approaches to criminal justice and works to transform the root causes of crime, bring power to communities, and heal
victims and offenders. Conferences are held every two years.
157 Carlton St., Suite 202 Toronto, ON, M5A 2K3, Canada
Books and Publications
From the Wilderness
A monthly newsletter published/ edited by former Los Angeles narcotics investigator turned whistle blower, Mike Ruppert.
PO Box 6061-350
Sherman Oaks, CA 91413
The Atlantic Monthly, June ‘99
“When They Get Out,” by Sasha Abramsky.
The article considers the effects of socializing people in the brutal conditions in prisons and then releasing them into society. This piece follows “The Prison Industrial Complex,” by Eric Schlosser, December 1998. See also: “A Model Prison,” by Robert Worth, November 1995.
Criminology as Peacemaking
edited by Harold E. Pepinsky and Richard Quinney. Indiana University Press, 1991.
A collection of essays from feminism, peace studies, and criminology proposing peacemaking as an effective alternative to conducting war on crime and offenders
Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis,
by Christian Parenti. NY:
The political history of the war on crime, the human rights abuses endemic in US prisons, and the profit motive behind America's exploding prison-industrial complex.
Race to Incarcerate
by Marc Mauer of The Sentencing Project. NY: The New Press, 1999.
The explosion in the prison population despite its failure to impact crime, and the resulting devastation of African-American communities.
Stories of Transformative Justice
by Ruth Morris. Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press, Inc., 2000.
An inspiring collection of stories from around the world on restorative justice, forgiveness, prison reform, and transformative justice at work.
The Case for Penal Abolition
edited by W. Gordon West and Ruth Morris. Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press Inc., 2000
Essays by an international group of scholars and activists favoring the abolition of prison and the overhauling our criminal justice system; deals with street crime, corporate crime, and hopeful solutions.
The Last Graduation
edited by Cathy Scott and Barbara Zahm. Deep Dish Television, 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012
The successes of prison education prior to political pressures that cut funding and ended the programs.