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Prison Commission Releases Final Report: Confronting Confinement

The Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons has released "Confronting Confinement", a report on violence and abuse in U.S. jails and prisons, the broad impact of those problems on public safety and public health, and how correctional facilities nationwide can become safer and more effective.

The report addresses dangerous conditions of confinement - violence, poor health care, and inappropriate segregation -- that can also endanger corrections officers and the public; lack of political support for labor and management; weak oversight of correctional facilities; and serious flaws in the available data about violence and abuse.

"For the vast majority of inmates prison is a temporary, not a final, destination. The experiences inmates have in prison -- whether violent or redemptive -- do not stay within prison walls, but spill over into the rest of society.

Federal, state, and local governments must address the problems faced by their respective institutions and develop tangible and attainable solutions," said Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), Chair of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The Commission is staffed by and funded through the Vera Institute of Justice. To read a summary of the commission's findings and recommendations, and a brief Q&A about the report, or to access the complete report, go to

Prison Commission Report Makes News, Gains Endorsements

Dear Friends,

I'm writing to let you know about the extraordinary degree of interest in and support for the Commission's report, Confronting Confinement. Since the release of the report on June 8th, there have been more than a hundred national, regional and local news stories, editorials, and opinion pieces focused on the Commission's findings and recommendations.

The report has captured the attention of members of Congress - in particular Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) who chaired a hearing on the results of the Commission. The report has received endorsements from organizations ranging from the National Association of Evangelicals to the ACLU's National Prison Project.

The Association of State Correctional Administrators has said that the Commission's report "presents an opportunity for public discussion of issues that corrections professionals have been working on for years. Leaders of large and small correctional systems are requesting copies of the report to help guide reform.

Healthcare advocates are seizing on the Commission's message that the well being of neighborhoods and communities depends on decent correctional health care. There's even interest in the report outside the United States, particularly in Latin America, and we've just published a summary of the report in Spanish and Portuguese. You can download those documents at

This broad-based and positive response to the report is very encouraging. We'll keep you informed as the staff and Commissioners assist corrections leaders, lawmakers, and others who are working to advance reforms at the federal, state, and local levels - and we'll be sure to let you know how you can get involved.

Sincerely, Alex Busansky, Executive Director

Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons - July 25, 2006

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