Lois Ahrens, the founder and director of the RCPP has been fortunate to have built an extensive network with prisoners which has grown into working relationships informing and transforming her work. Her correspondence and visits with prisoners has meant a greater focus on the realities of extremely long sentences and the harsh and damaging conditions of confinement faced by all prisoners in the U.S. In Massachusetts, the RCPP's recent work includes stopping the degrading Department of Corrections policy of dogs sniffing all visitors (including young children) while they wait for hours to see family and friends, state-wide organizing against the "three strikes" law, and working to stop new prison and jail building. The RCPP is committed to bringing the ideas and analysis of prisoners and formerly incarcerated men and women into our organizing to more authentically challenge and change the destructive beliefs and costly systems that drive mass criminalization.
The Real Cost of Prisons Project is a national organization, which began 2000. The RCPP created workshops, a website visited by 1,500 people a day which includes sections of writing and comix by prisoners and three comic books. 135,000 free comic books have been sent to organizers, schools and prisoners throughout the country. The comic books are anthologized into the book, The Real Cost of Prisons Comix, published by PM Press. In 2008, the book won the PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
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