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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
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.