Ann- Exec Director of PA Prison Society

The PPS (Pennsylvania Prison Society) was established in 1787. It began as the Philadelphia Society to Alleviate the Miseries of Public Prisons. For over 227 years that’s what we’ve been doing. The agency was started by Ben Franklin, Bishop White, Dr. Benjamin Rush, all the movers and shakers of colonial times. They pushed for a system that was more humane and that’s the same thing we’ve been doing over the past two centuries.

We have done a number of activities in the early days. We helped provide coats and other clothing and food to people who were incarcerated over the years. We helped develop the Defenders Association, we helped prevent private prisons in this state, we help push for rules against shackling of women who are incarcerated and giving birth. We have pushed for earned time/ good time, and have gotten very close to passing this important legislation several times. We helped to Ban the Box in the city of Philadelphia and now we’re looking at similar legislation statewide. We’ve done a lot of programs, services, and also advocacy to try to create a better, more efficient and effective criminal justice system. But the work goes on and there’s still a need for people to go in, to monitor, to talk, to be the liaison that people in prison need from the community. Otherwise, it’s a closed system and there’s limited contact with the outside. 95% of those incarcerated are coming out so we believe strongly that people need a link to the outside. We’re happy to do it.

Ann Schwartzman- Exec Director of PA Prison Society
The mission of the Pennsylvania Prison Society is to advocate for a humane, just and restorative correctional system, and to promote a rational approach to criminal justice issues. The Prison Society recognizes that constructive corrections helps to repair the damages of crimes to victims and communities. The equilibrium achieved through this restorative approach, which is both cost effective and humane, benefits and enriches all facets of society and advances the well being of the entire community.

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