The National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated is “the oldest and largest organization in the U.S. focused on children and families of the incarcerated and programs that serve them.”
“Families for Justice as Healing focuses on raising public awareness about the incarceration of women and the impact on children and communities.”
“Women’s Prison Association works with women at all stages of criminal justice involvement. We promote alternatives to incarceration and help women living in the community to avoid arrest or incarceration by making positive changes in their lives.”
The National Institute of Corrections’ National Directory of Programs for Women with Criminal Justice Involvement.
WOMEN AND FAMILIES
We believe that one of the best resources for non-partisan news covering the criminal justice system in America today is THE MARSHALL PROJECT (www.themarshallproject.org). “Our mission is to raise public awareness around issues of criminal justice and the possibility for reform. But while we are nonpartisan, we are not neutral. Our hope is that by bringing transparency to the systemic problems that plague our courts and prisons, we can help stimulate a national conversation about how best to reform our system of crime and punishment.”
ACCREDIDATION AND GOVERNMENTAL
“The American Correctional Association is a multi-disciplinary organization of professionals representing all facets of corrections & criminal justice, including federal, state, and military correctional facilities and prisons, county jails and detention centers, probation/parole agencies, and community corrections/halfway houses.”
The Bureau of Justice Statistics is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice and serves as the country’s “primary source for criminal justice statistics, including correctional populations and facilities.”
U.S. Department of Justice’s Disability Rights Section “works to achieve equal opportunity for people with disabilities in the United States by implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).” Call 1-800-514-0301 for information.
Link to Supreme Court website where you can order up to five free copies of recent Supreme Court decisions from the Office of Public Information, call 202-479-3211. Some recent decisions and their subject areas: Habeas: Lopez v. Smith 13-946; Christeson v. Roper 14-6873; Woods v. Donald 14-616; Davis v. Ayala 13-1428; Brumfield v. Cain 13-1433; Drug Offenses: Mellouli v. Lynch 13-1034; McFadden v. United States 14-378; Sex Offenses: Grady v. North Carolina 14-593; Excessive Force at Pre-Trial: Kingsley v. Hendrickson 14-6368; Arrest of Mentally Ill: City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan 13-1412; Litigation by Indigent Prisoners: Coleman v. Tollefson 13-1333; Religious Rights in Prison: Holt v. Hobbs 13-6827. (Excerpted from CURE Newsletter Summer 2015)
Alan Pogue's Book, Witness for Justice: The Documentary Photographs of Alan Pogue.
www.prisonwriters.com - A website where prison writers demonstrate their talents.
Toll-free phone numbers (Excerpted from CURE Newsletter Summer 2015)
Below are sixteen national toll-free phone numbers (10 federal, 5 non-profit and one local government) answered by live operators. Have a family member, caseworker or the prison/jail librarian call, asking how the agency can help a returning citizen.
Also, ask them to mail information to the person incarcerated.
Ways You Can Help People In Prison
When you are struggling with a criminal justice system, it is often easy to feel very helpless. It may be difficult to understand the system. You may feel very isolated. You may feel that you are treated disrespectfully when you talk about the system. You may be overwhelmed by other responsibilities while you have a loved one who is incarcerated.
We understand those feelings. At the same time, if the criminal justice system is to improve, we need many people to speak up about the problems. A few great advocates won’t change much. Lots of voices can result in change.
Here are a few suggestions. These are just suggestions. They may not work everywhere. If these won’t work where you live, perhaps they will inspire you to think of something that will work. No one can do all of these things. Anything you can do is likely to help.
Communicate- If you are incarcerated and can write or call your loved ones, do so. If you love someone who is incarcerated write or visit, if possible. Incarceration is designed to isolate people. We need to combat that. We also need people in the free world to understand what goes on in our prisons and jails. Be informed. Consider studying the publications listed on our home page. Join your CURE Chapter. Attend conferences or seminars on the subject. Ask questions.
Advocate- If you are incarcerated, use the systems available to file complaints about legitimate concerns. If you are in the free world and encounter problems or are concerned about problems faced by someone who is incarcerated, contact the prison administrator. Talk with policy makers such as legislators and ombudsman to be certain that they understand the problems. Educate. Talk to your friends and associates. Let them know what is happening. Write letters to the editor. Challenge inaccurate reporting. Write, call, or email the editor to point out inaccuracies.
Vote- Do your part to elect leaders who understand criminal justice issues and support constructive policies.
Join- Join your state chapter of CURE. Volunteer to help out. Volunteer to join the board. If there is no chapter in your state, consider starting one. Contact us, if you are interested. Participate in one or more of our campaigns.
Prison Legal News (PLN), a project of the non-profit Human Rights Defense Center, is a 72-page monthly magazine that reports on criminal justice issues and prison and jail-related civil litigation, with an emphasis on prisoners' rights.”
Families Against Mandatory Minimums is an organization that advocates for “sensible state and federal sentencing reform.”
The National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“The National Prison Project is dedicated to ensuring that our nation's prisons, jails, and detention centers comply with the Constitution, domestic law, and human rights principles.”
“Established in 1986, The Sentencing Project works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration.”
“The Prison Policy Initiative challenges over-criminalization and mass incarceration through research, advocacy, and organizing.”
“Reforming Sex Offender Laws, RSOL, envisions effective, fact-based sexual offense laws and policies which promote public safety, safeguard civil liberties, honor human dignity, and offer holistic prevention, healing, and restoration.”
“To the best of our knowledge (May 2013) this is the ONLY place on the Internet that covers news, general information, court cases, and related research for ALL 23 jurisdictions that civilly commit folks following their prison sentences in the United States.” here.
LEGAL RESOURCES AND CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT
Drugs Minus Two Retroactivity
Families Against Mandatory Minimums has an informative Frequently Asked Questions piece on the 2014 action by the U.S. Sentencing Commission to make the two-level reduction in drug guidelines retroactive. Certain federal drug prisoners can apply for a sentence reduction.
“Solitary Watch is a web-based project aimed at bringing the widespread use of solitary confinement out of the shadows and into the light of the public square.”
Published by the American Friends Service Committee, this links to Survivors Manual: How to Survive Solitary Confinement, “A manual written by and for people living in control units.”
“Clemency Project 2014 – a working group composed of lawyers and advocates - provide pro bono (free) assistance to federal prisoners who would likely have received a shorter sentence if they had been sentenced today. Clemency Project 2014 members collaborate to recruit and train attorneys on how to screen for prisoners who meet the criteria” outlined by the US Department of Justice.
“The Innocence Project is a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.”
A CURE SPECIAL ISSUE CHAPTER “The National Capital Crime Assistance Network works with innocent prisoners who are facing the death penalty, capital charges, or life without parole. We provide many essential services to these people and their families.”
National Capital Crime Assistance Network’s (NCCAN) Prisoner’s Resource Guide