Ending Mass Incarceration

Bringing Dignity to Life Behind Bars

With few exceptions, American jails and prisons are dehumanizing environments. For incarcerated men and women—95% of whom will return home—the possibility of rehabilitation is undermined by the brutality and monotony of life behind bars. High recidivism rates suggest the model isn’t working. The environments are punishing for staff as well. 

Downsizing prisons and jails is not enough. They must be healthy places to live and work, places that affirm fundamental human rights, and where the possibility for personal transformation is a reality. Getting there requires commitment, imagination, and close partnerships with corrections administrators and others eager for change. Our work includes ending the widespread use of solitary confinement, protecting people from sexual assault, exploring ways to better connect people who are incarcerated with their families,  and expanding access to higher education in prison. It also draws on lessons from countries that take a much less punitive approach to confinement with far better results.

Related Work

Series: Addressing the Overuse of Segregation in U.S. Prisons and Jails

Mental Health Units as Alternatives to Segregation

It Can Be Done

The definition in Massachusetts also includes several other disorders: those commonly characterized by breaks with reality or perceptions of reality; developmental disability, dementia, or other cognitive disorders; or personality disorders manifested by episodes of psychosis or depression, when those disorders lead to significant functional impair...

Blog Post
  • Joel  Andrade, PhD, LICSW, CCHP
    Joel Andrade, PhD, LICSW, CCHP
June 22, 2017
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Series: Dispatches from T.R.U.E.

Working Together Toward Community, Connection, and Comradeship in T.R.U.E.

An offender in the T.R.U.E. unit asked me, “Why do you want to participate in this program?”  I explained that I was tired of the revolving door in Corrections and the disruption it causes to the community.  They then asked, “What experiences do you have dealing with this population?” Even though there has never been a unit like this in an ...

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  • James Vassar
June 13, 2017
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