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Prison Studies Project


The Prison Studies Project, in collaboration with Boston University’s Prison Education Program and the MA Department of Correction, brings 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.


The growth of America’s prison and jail populations over the last 35 years creates an array of new challenges for public policy and provokes a variety of questions about the quality of American democracy and citizenship. The Prison Studies Project conducts research to address these challenges and questions.


The Prison Studies Project aims to raise public awareness about incarceration in America, promote a perspective on criminal punishment that emphasizes its connection to racial, class and other socioeconomic disadvantages, and inject into the public conversation a discussion of policy alternatives.

ABA Launches Online Database of Collateral Consequences

Dec 23, 2014
The American Bar Association (ABA) has created an interactive online database of on-going punishment, aka "collateral consequences," for each U.S. jurisdiction. This state-by-state resource compiles all laws and restrictions about on-going punishments imposed on people because of past convictions.

Recent Opinion Piece: Protests Shed Light on Larger Problem of U.S. Criminal Justice System

Dec 18, 2014
A Dec. 16 opinion piece by Jeremy Travis and Bruce Western in The Boston Globe suggests that recent instances of police brutality in Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland and elsewhere across America, are just a symptom of a much larger problem that is the modern U.S. system of criminal justice.

#ThisStopsToday 11 Days of Action in NYC

Dec 17, 2014
#ThisStopsToday is calling for eleven days of action – one day for each of Eric Garner’s cries of "I Can't Breathe" before he died – across NYC starting Wednesday, Dec 10th ending on Saturday Dec 20th. During these 11 days, #TheStopsToday is continuing the call for accountability and justice for Garner and all other victims of police brutality and violence.

Action Plan in New York City Addresses Mental Health in NY Justice System

Dec 3, 2014
According to a recent New York Times article, New York City officials have just allocated $130 million over four years to expand public health services at almost every step of the criminal justice process. This is an important part of the state's effort to reduce the growing number of incarcerated people with mental health and substance abuse problems in New York City’s jails. The new plan will shift emphasis from punishment for minor crimes to treatment and the changes include tripling the size of both pretrial diversion programs and the amount of resources devoted to easing the transition from jail back into society.
  • National Directory of Prison Education Programs

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