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The Real Cost of Prisons Project brings together justice activists, artists, researchers and women and men directly experiencing the impact of mass criminalization who are working to end the carceral state.

The Real Cost of Prisons Project is a national organization, begun in 2000. The RCPP created workshops, a website visited by 1,500 people a day and which includes extensive sections of writing and comix by prisoners. In 2005, we created and published three comic books: Prison Town: Paying the Price, Prisoners of the War on Drugs and Prisoners of a Hard Life: Women and Their Children. 135,000 free comic books have been sent to organizers, schools and prisoners throughout the country. The comic books are no longer in print but can be downloaded and printed from this website. The comic books are anthologized into the book, The Real Cost of Prisons Comix, published by PM Press.

The Real Cost of Prisons organizing focuses on ending extreme sentencing such as Life Without the Possibility of Parole and the daily harsh and damaging conditions of confinement faced by every prisoner in the United States. Lois Ahrens, founding director, of the RCPP is a founding member of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.

In Massachusetts, the RCPP's recent work includes organizing to stop new jails, working for bail reform and advocating on behalf of alternatives to incarceration.

The RCPP is committed to bringing the ideas and analysis of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women to the forefront so we can more authentically challenge and change the destructive beliefs and costly systems that drive the carceral state.


Art by Carnell Hunnicutt

The Real Cost of Prisons Project thanks the Ramsay Merriam Fund and the Markham Nathan Fund for their generous support.

© 2003-2011 The Real Cost of Prisons Project