Comic Books from the Real Cost of Prisons Project
In 2005, the Real Cost of Prisons Project published three comic books,
"Prisoners of The War on Drugs", "Prisoners of a Hard Life---Women and Their
Children" and "Prison Town-Paying the Price."
135,000 comic books were printed and distributed. They are now out-of-print.
Comic books have been received by prisoners in every state prison system, every
federal prison and numerous jails. Thousands more have been sent to prisoners
through Books Through Bars organizations.
Many thousands of comic books were used by programs working with youth.Thousands
more have been used by health educators and providers, including training for
rural health students and their preceptors; classes for midwives and nurses;
support groups for drug users in programs throughout the country; clients and
staff at AIDS/HIV and Hep C prevention projects. Many organizers working to stop
new prisons and jails have distributed "Prison Town" throughout their
communities, to legislators and city councilors.
Hundreds of organizations, big and small, used the the comic books in workshops,
outreach and organizing.
The Real Cost of Prisons Comix are available in an anthology
from PM Press. The book includes the three comic books, a preface by Lois
Ahrens, an introductory essay by Craig Gilmore and Ruth Wilson Gilmore in
addition to comments from activists in prison and in the "free world" on ways
they have used the comic books in their organizing work. You can order the book
through PM press.
The comic book tells the story the ways in which the
financing and siting of prisons and jails affects the
people of rural communities in which prison are built.
It also tells the story of the how mass incarceration
affects the people of urban communities where the
majority of people who are incarcerated come from.
Included in the comic book are alternatives to the
As an extension of our comic book series, we have
developed a number of one-page flyers and posters
that feature pages from the comics. Please feel free to
print them out and use them in your work.
One-page flyers from from Prison Town: Paying the Price by Kevin Pyle and Craig Gilmore
The comic book includes: the history of the war on
drugs, mandatory minimums and how racism creates
harsher sentences for people of color; stories on how
the war on drugs works against women, three strikes,
obstacles to coming home after incarceration, how mass
incarceration destabilizes neighborhoods, and
alternatives to the present system.
One-page flyers from Prisoners of the War on Drugs by Sabrina Jones,
Ellen Miller-Mack and Lois Ahrens:
The comic book includes stories about women trapped
by mandatory sentencing and the War on Drugs and the
"costs" of incarceration for women and their families.
A two-page story details the trial and sentencing of
Regina McKnight. Also included are "Change is Possible"
alternatives to the present system, a glossary and
footnotes. 20 pages with a four-color cover.
From Prisoners of a Hard Life: Women and Their Children by Susan Willmarth, Ellen Miller-Mack, and Lois Ahrens .