Cranston, RI—On November 15th, 2016, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections will host an invitational public tour of John J. Moran Medium Security Facility as part of the Vera Institute of Justice’s national Prison Visiting Week. Rhode Island is joining 16 other state and local corrections departments, as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons, in this initiative to increase public awareness and visibility of prisons and jails and conditions of confinement. Prison Visiting Week is a component of Vera’s larger Reimagining Prison initiative, which aims to reexamine the purpose, goals, and envisioned outcomes of incarceration in a time when many policymakers and American public are calling to reduce the number of people behind bars.
During the comprehensive tour, approximately 20 members of the public—including community leaders, students, business leaders, etc.—will have the opportunity to interact with staff and residents, observe group activities, and learn more about the current state of incarceration. Through this tour, the Prison Visiting Week initiative aims to foster transparency and public engagement among people who have not had experience with incarceration or visited a prison.
“As we recalibrate our over-reliance on incarceration as a response to crime, we must not only revisit when to use incarceration, but why—and how,” said Fred Patrick, director of the Center on Sentencing and Corrections at the Vera Institute of Justice. “In order to truly reimagine our incarceration system, we must first break down the barriers between prisons and larger society. We are extremely pleased to partner with corrections departments across the nation who share our vision of prison transparency and visibility, and who have opened up the doors to their facilities this week.”