For more than 230 years the Prison Society has worked to promote the health, safety and dignity of people behind bars. Our start dates back to May 8, 1787, just weeks away from the start of the Constitutional Convention, our nation’s founders established the Pennsylvania Prison Society out of the conviction that “The obligations of benevolence are not canceled by the follies or crimes of our fellow creatures.”
That moment and their words still inspire us.
Hidden from public view, abuse and degradation behind bars often goes unnoticed. Closed from communities and families, prisons isolate people from the supports they need to contribute when they come home. Our mission to advance the health, safety, and dignity of the people who live and work in every jail and prison across the Commonwealth is as relevant today as it was two centuries ago.
Impartiality and empathy are not mutually exclusive: we’re committed to acting objectively and with integrity; also to bringing compassion and sensitivity to honor the humanity in each individual.
Transparency, respect, and fact guides our work. Our monitoring methods, data collection systems, volunteer training, and the way we mediate with prison administrators are based on these principles.