Say “criminal justice” and very few people think of the environment. But in reality, there’s a complicated relationship between the work of environmentalists, who are trying to encourage a more responsible attitude toward our planet and everything on it, and those moving in and out of the prison-industrial complex, who are fighting for a little space in this world and struggling to survive in severely under-resourced communities. These days, rural prisons provide the only experience many urban youth have with a non-urban environment.
The Brooklyn-based Prison Moratorium Project is one organization starting to think about how best to integrate these two seemingly disparate issues. The idea of a prison moratorium came about in response to the jail-building boom of the 1970s; PMP itself was founded in 1995 by Eddie Ellis, Raybblin Vargas, and Kevin Pranis. Since then, the organization has been working with young people who have been in a juvenile detention center or jail, and with the communities those youth call home. As a key player in the Justice 4 Youth Coalition, PMP is largely credite... Read more