In 1787, a group of colonial revolutionaries and Quaker’s, created the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons. The group founded this organization due to their strong beliefs against violence and mis-treatment of prisoners. Today, 225 years later, this organization is still going strong with their core commitment and beliefs in alleviating suffering to prisoners. This organization today is called, the Pennsylvania Prison Society.
The modern mission of the Pennsylvania Prison Society is to advocate for a humane, just and restorative correctional system, and to promote a rational approach to criminal justice issues. Within the belief of the Pennsylvania Prison Society is that prisoners should be held accountable for the crime committed, but that punishment should be just, yet constructive.
The goal of the Pennsylvania Prison Society is to make sure that humane conditions are enforced for prisoners in the Pennsylvania area, to advocate for conditions that will improve prison conditions, to support prisoners, their families and children in efforts to improve self-development and most importantly, to help reduce the pain, loneliness, misery and lack of self-worth that many prisoners experience while incarcerated.
In addition, the Pennsylvania Prison Society is hoping got reduce the use of incarceration, whose rates are sky-rocketing, by applying more appropriate correctional settings and alternatives to incarceration.
Justice and Compassion Don’t Have to Be Exclusive.
And so importantly, the Pennsylvania Prison Society is passionate about educating the public in the importance of correctional reform to help reduce rates of recidivism in the state of Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Prison Society publishes Correctional Forum and Graterfriends as a way of reaching the general public on the importance of prison reform. Graterfriends is printed monthly and is a fantastic resource for incarcerated prisoners. Much of the content in this publication is generated by prisoners and deals with concerns within correctional facilities.
The Pennsylvania Prison Society also deals with prisoners who report abuse by guards or prison staff. Each complaint is investigated and then submitted to the Internal Affairs in the Philadelphia Prison System and is governed by the Lester vs. Shuler program designed to help reduce guard brutality.
In addition, the Pennsylvania Prison Society has developed The Working Group to Enhance Services for Incarcerated Women, helping these women with basic needs such as housing, employment, substance abuse, public benefits, health issues, childcare and parenting skills.
The Pennsylvania Prison Society also helps with transportation services and many other reentry issues as well.
To read more about this legacy organization who have helped Pennsylvania prisoners for over 200 years – please read more here.