How We Help

Prison Monitoring

Recognizing the importance of how people in prison are treated is why our nation's founders started the Prison Society in 1787. On any given day, there are approximately 62,000 people incarcerated in Pennsylvania, at an annual cost of $5 billion dollars.
Graphic of two people visiting an inmate.

What happens behind bars matters.

We work to end abuse and mistreatment in prisons. When prisons and jails are unsafe, communities are unsafe. When residents and staff in correctional facilities are degraded, the community is degraded.  

As the only independent oversight body with statutory access for Pennsylvania’s prisons and jails, we work directly inside all 85 state and county correctional facilities to monitor conditions, escalate problems we witness, and surface issues before they become a problem.

Through our statewide network of trained volunteers, we respond to individual requests for assistance from incarcerated people and their families, and work to resolve issues on a case-by-case basis. To provide effective oversight of individual institutions and the correctional system at-large, we track key issues and identify trends through data collection, walkthroughs, and in-depth regular communication with people living and working in prison.

We use this information to effectively partner with prison administrators and government officials to help ensure our shared goal of safer, more humane prisons. We make this information publicly available to advance understanding, transparency, and accountability on the government's third-largest expenditure.

“Thank you for your help thus far. I seriously thought I was alone in this....I’m trying to take care of everything and it’s so stressful” INCARCERATED PERSON, SCI COAL TOWNSHIP

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Interested in becoming a volunteer Prison Monitor?

We recruit committed volunteers on an ongoing basis. As a volunteer Prison Monitor, you'll help address the often-overlooked needs of people living behind bars, while contributing to making a difference in our prison system at large.