Lois Ahrens, Real Cost of Prisons, UMass-Amherst

We are proud to announce the inauguration of the STPEC Activist Brown Bag Lunch Series.

Most acclaimed for her pioneering work fighting mass incarceration, Lois Ahrens has been an activist and organizer for social justice for more than forty-five years. In 2000 she began the Real Cost of Prisons Project, a national organization whose website, with writing and comix by prisoners, receives more than 2,000 unique visits per day (see http://www.realcostofprisons.org). In 2005, she developed three informative, award-winning comic books widely appreciated by prisoners, their families, organizers, teachers, students, and others: Prison Town-Paying the Price, Prisoners of A Hard Life-Women and Their Children, and Prisoners of the War on Drugs. Ahrens’s work is guided by her extensive correspondence and visits with prisoners and their families and has resulted in a greater focus on the issues of extremely long sentences, solitary confinement, and the other punitive and damaging conditions of confinement faced by all prisoners in the U.S. In Massachusetts, she has been particularly active in challenging increasingly harsh sentencing policies, stopping new prison and jail building, and working to restore parole.

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