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Key Issue

Impacts of incarceration

Incarceration negatively impacts people on both sides of prison, jail, and detention center walls. Many people in confinement are denied access to adequate living conditions, adequate medical and mental health care, meaningful education, and legal and religious materials. Upon return to the community, people are faced with multiple obstacles and lack of access to community-based reentry services.

AFSC works to ameliorate these conditions, both through direct work with people in prison and through advocacy at the state and federal level. AFSC also lifts up the stories of resilience, perseverance, and resistance from people living behind bars.

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Conditions of confinement

Prison, jail, and detention center conditions vary by state—and so do resources on how to work for change. AFSC’s programs in MichiganMarylandCaliforniaNew JerseyWashington stateArizona, and Colorado can help you get started.

Prison fence lined with barbed wire and a watch tower

Submitted to the U.N. Committee Against Torture in 2014, "Survivors Speak" is a collection of testimonies of prisoners subjected to cruel treatment or who have witnessed abuses committed against others while held in U.S. custody.


Mike and Russell

In Maryland, men siphoned out of Baltimore neighborhoods and into the prison system as part of the “War on Drugs” have fostered community and leadership development through the Friend of a Friend program. 

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