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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

New York Prisons and Jails: Historical Research: NY Prison/NYC Jail Oversight and Advocacy

A guide to historical to current resources on prisons and jails in New York City and New York State. By Ellen Belcher

NY Prisons - Legislative Oversight

New York State Assembly - Standing Committee on Corrections website, reports

New York State Senate - Standing Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections website

Prisoner Advocacy during the COVID Pandemic

July 23, 2020 Outbreak at San Quentin Snap Judgement Podcast

Beyond Prisons COVID-19 Resources for Prisoners

Prison Abolition Resources


Davis, A., & Freeman, S. (2003). Are Prisons Obsolete? Seven Stories Press. freely available to borrow from Internet Archive and Reserve Room - 3 hour loan HV9471 .D375 2003

Racial Capitalism & Prison Abolition Zine  (Oct 14, 2020) Written and illustrated to make accessible the theories of Black Marxist and prison abolitionist scholars including Cedric Robinson, Robin D.G. Kelley, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Mariame Kaba, Angela Davis and others.

Abolition Organizations

Black and Pink  from their website: The organization began as an explicitly anarchist project, so the name - Black & Pink - was chosen to represent the black flag of anarchism and the power of queer politics and experience. The Prison Library Support Network has posted the Black & Pink Prison Abolition Syllabus

NYC Jericho Movement  Jericho is a movement with the defined goal of gaining recognition of the fact that political prisoners and prisoners of war exist inside of the United States.

Critical Resistance, NYC Critical Resistance was formed in 1997 when activists challenging the idea that imprisonment and policing are a solution for social, political, and economic problems came together to organize a conference that examined and challenged what we have come to call the prison industrial complex (PIC).

Beyond Prisons Podcast


NY Prisoner Advocates/Support

Human Rights Watch List of Prison/er Resources in New York

Worth Rises is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to dismantling the prison industry and ending the exploitation of those it touches.

The Prison Association of New York (PANY) was established in 1844. This organization is still active under the name Correctional Association of New York. The earliest PANY Annual Reports are freely available in the Hathi Trust Digital Library. John Jay holds later reports 1911-1960.  John Jay users can also access a different digitized version of the 1844 report and other early publications on the Crime, Punishment and Popular Culture,1790-1920 database. Two volumes kept by PANY Founder Isaac T. Hopper are held by NYPL Mss & Archives Division, both of which are available on the NYPL Digital Collections

The Women's Prison Association (WPA) began as the "Female Department" of the PANY in 1844 and formed as a separate organization in 1853 is still active (see a video made in their 170th year) . Their historical records are held by NYPL Mss division.  Read an NYPL blog post on 19th Century reforms for which they advocated.

The Fortune Society - works to support prisoner re-entry. This Library's Special Collections is the repository for the historic insitutional records of this organization.

National Council for Incaerated and Formerly Incacerated Women and Girls

The American Prison Writing Archive is a place where imprisoned people and prison staff can write about and document their experience.

NYPL Correctional Services The New York Public Library's Correctional Services delivers a range of library programs at city, state, and federal facilities. They also offer volunteer opportunities.

New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement has also started a media campaign #HALTSolidarity

Survived + Punished

RAPP (Release Aging People in Prison)

Prison Culture is an attempt to document how the current prison industrial complex operates and to underscore the ways that it structures American society

NYC-JAC - New York City Jails Action Coalition: JAC is a coalition of activists that includes formerly incarcerated and currently incarcerated people, family members and other community members who are working to promote human rights, dignity and safety for people in New York City jails.

Photo Requests from Solitary Photo Requests from Solitary (PRFS) is an ongoing project that invites men and women held in long-term solitary confinement in U.S. prisons to request a photograph of anything at all, real or imagined, and then finds an artist to make the image.

Perilouschronicle Perilous: A Chronicle of Prisoner Unrest Across the US and Canada, 2010-Present

Outside NY - Prisoner Advocacy & Penal Reform Organisations