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Prison Reform

This guide is designed to help you find material available on Prison Reform in the United States.


What Do We Mean By Prison Reform?

Prison and Asylums Reform is the attempt to improve conditions inside prisons, establish a much more effective penal system, or implement alternatives to incarceration. It also focuses on ensuring the reinstatement of those whose lives are impacted by crimes.

In recent years, activists and lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum have publicly considered an array of possible reforms to the American correctional system. Their reasons are diverse—some are concerned about humanitarian issues within the prison system, some are trying to rein in massive governmental spending, some are trying to rationalize inconsistent policies, others are trying to redress inequities in the law. 


Prison Fence, Razor Ribbon, Wire, Metal

Image Credit: Pixabay

eBooks + Books

Suggested Websites

Bureau of Justice Statistics

The United States' primary source for criminal justice statistics.

Center for Prison Reform

 We are a coalition of like-minded partners that support prison reform at every stage of the process.

Charles Koch Institute

Inspiring bold ideas to improve American lives.


Works to to create a more fair and effective justice system that respects our American values of individual accountability and dignity while keeping our communities safe.

UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)

A global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. 

The Marshall Project

A nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. 

Prison Policy Initiative

Produces cutting edge research to expose the broader harm of mass criminalization and then sparks advocacy campaigns to create a more just society.

The Sentencing Project

Criminal justice facts.



There are more African-Americans under correctional control today—in prison or jail, on probation or parole—than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. In this edition of Moyers & Company, Bill speaks with civil rights lawyer and legal scholar Michelle Alexander, whose book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness has become a bestseller and spurred a wide conversation about justice and inequality in America, inspiring one reviewer to call it “the bible of a social movement.” This program also includes an excerpt from the documentary Susan, by Tessa Blake and Emma Hewitt. The film tells the story of former California inmate Susan Burton, who runs five houses offering help to women struggling to rebuild their lives after prison.