6 Righteous Organizations Giving Support To Prisoners

Millions of people experience the nightmare of being caged by the state, with no apparent way to achieve freedom. Fortunately, there are groups that strive to make sure that those who are kept under lock and key have someone advocating for them. In no particular order, here are some nonprofits that do what they can for those who are incarcerated.

Starting off at #1 is a British education charity called Prisoners' Education Trust. Working throughout England and Wales, PET funds courses for distance learning in prison, and supports people to choose their area of study, build connections, and progress with their learning. The group also champions the life-changing power of reading to penal institutions and policymakers.

Prisoners' Education Trust seeks to make a difference by reducing the rate of re-offending by formerly incarcerated learners, and works to increase the likelihood that they will obtain employment. The charity states that its courses can be linked to the fact that participants experience a greater sense of self-worth and better relationships with others.

#2 on our list is Prisoners' Advice Service, a charity that provides free legal counsel and information on navigating topics such as home detention curfew. PAS advises about matters such as civil rights, the application of institutional rules, and the remedying of problems pertaining to daily prison conditions. These means of assistance are provided on an individual and confidential basis.

PAS encourages people who are incarcerated to report complaints to them. Depending on circumstances, the person making the complaint may receive simple advice, contact information for solicitors' firms, or even an offer for the group to take legal action on the imprisoned person's behalf. The charity also creates self-help toolkits that straightforwardly summarize complicated topics.

Coming in at #3 is Detention Action, which provides support and advice to people locked in Harmondsworth, Colnbrook, and Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centers, and to those who are imprisoned under immigration powers in London. The organization is completely independent from the government and from the detention centers.

The group calls for a wide range of injustices to be rectified, including the cessation of indefinite detention on the grounds that the practice causes immeasurable and unnecessary harm, and is thus a breach of human rights. Detention Action also helps individuals cope with and navigate the various prisons and removal centers they find themselves in.

Our #4 is a charity called Just Detention International. JDI is a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sex crime behind bars. The group works to hold government officials accountable for prisoner rape, challenge the attitudes and misconceptions that allow sexual abuse to flourish, and make sure that survivors get the help they need.

JDI holds that sexual abuse in detention is absolutely preventable, and that prisons and jails with committed leaders, good policies, and sound practices can keep people safe. The organization collaborates with policymakers, advocates, corrections officials, and survivors themselves to protect the basic human rights of people who are locked up, whether in the United States or globally.

Occupying the #5 spot is Re:Store Justice, which seeks to end life and extreme sentences by changing the way society and the legal system respond to violence and harm. In coalition with partner organizations, the group fights to advance evidence-based and trauma-informed policies rooted in improving public safety, creating healthier communities, and protecting vulnerable populations. It also conducts several weekly classes at California State Prison Los Angeles County.

The organization envisions a fairer way to address harms in society, one guided by the principles of restorative justice. This approach empowers directly impacted individuals to share their lived experiences and drive meaningful change from the inside-out. To do this, the group organizes symposia inside of prisons, trains affected individuals and advocates, facilitates face-to-face dialogues, and provides community days of healing for both survivors and responsible parties.

Rounding out the overview is #6, The Death Penalty Project, an international legal action charity. The group provides free representation to those facing execution, and to other vulnerable people who are being held in custody by a government. The Death Penalty Project encourages prisoners to write it letters if they are in need of assistance.

The group does advocacy with legislatures and through the press, such as producing content that espouses its viewpoint. One example is a video that tells the story of Anthony Ray Hinton, who spent almost 30 years on death row in Alabama for a crime he did not commit. The DPP brings strategic litigation to strike down cruel, unfair, and inhuman laws, with the aim of creating lasting legal precedents and ensuring that its impact stretches far beyond those individuals it directly assists.