The Prison Policy Initiative has been popping up in our feed more and more, with each post providing information about incarceration and policing that is well-researched, impactful, motivating, and often surprising. We recommend everyone follow the Prison Policy Initiative to stay informed about the way our justice system disadvantages BIPOC and people with disabilities, trends in policing and incarceration, and the impact that bias in law enforcement has on our communities.
The Prison Policy Initiative challenges over-criminalization and mass incarceration through research, advocacy, and organizing. As stated by the organization, “we show how the United States’ excessive and unequal use of punishment and institutional control harms individuals and undermines our communities and national well-being.”
Prison Policy Initiative provides information that will help someone new to criminal justice get a sense of what problems exist, and provides information that will be surprising and useful for the most seasoned abolitionist. And, it’s all done through easily digestible posts. Prison Policy Initiative told us, “we want to give advocates and activists the resources they need—including data, graphics, and factual background—to win.” Think of the social media accounts as an abolitionist starter kit. Once your interest is piqued by one of their posts, you can go to their website and find in-depth publications and data on that subject. And, then you can go further, learning about how the Prison Policy Initiative is working to change the trends and practices it posts about through litigation, research, and advocacy.
When we asked the Prison Policy Project how increased access to community-based alternatives could further their mission, they told us that “community-based alternatives to policing would provide a key piece in the dismantling of mass incarceration. Our research shows (https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/repeatarrests.html ) that police are overwhelmingly arresting and jailing people with mental health and substance use disorders that are living in poverty, with a special over criminalization of Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic people… Over policing and criminalization are the first step to the staggering reality of 2.3 million people incarcerated every day: alternatives to police would mean that less people are arrested, held pre-trial, and sentenced, especially the most marginalized and criminalized.”
The Prison Policy Project is a must follow because it’s the easiest way to keep yourself informed and aware of the inequities and power systems that shape our justice system, who that impacts most and how, and what you can do about it.