The Incarceration Nations Network (INN) is a global network and think tank that supports, instigates and popularizes innovative prison reform efforts around the world


Incarceration Nations Network

Some 11 million people worldwide are currently behind bars. This number is steadily increasing: Between 2008 and 2011, the prison population grew in 78 percent of all countries; between 2000 and 2016 it showed an increase of almost 20 percent.

More than 3.2 of these 11 million people behind bars have not been convicted of anything—they are legally innocent people awaiting trial. One in five of these 11 million is incarcerated for drug-related offenses, 83 percent for simple drug possession. A report for the Task Force on Justice calculated that 4.4 billion people are excluded from the opportunity the law provides and 244 million people experience extreme conditions of injustice.

Despite being known as mass incarceration, it does not impact the masses on equal terms. “Othered” communities—whether African-Americans and Latinos in the US; Indigenous people in Canada, Australia and New Zealand; Roma people throughout Europe; poor people in the Global South—are targeted by and thus caught up in criminal justice systems at dramatically disproportionate levels, due to a matrix of historical and current realities driven by capitalist aims.

This is not only a global human rights crisis. It is also a profound global threat to peace and community safety,because prisons—an outmoded, un-innovative method of generating public safety and reducing crime—do not build safer communities or advance peace and justice.


INN collaborated with Global Citizen to produce this video about the criminalization of poverty:


The core issues INN advocates for are:

“So far as is practicable, the education of prisoners shall be integrated with the educational system of the country, so that after their release, they may continue their education without difficulty.”
– UN Nelson Mandela Rules

"Health-care services should be organized in close relationship to the general public health administration and in a way that ensures continuity of treatment and care, including for HIV, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, as well as for drug dependence."
UN Nelson Mandela Rules

"Treating women [in prison] in the same way as men will not achieve gender equality. The circumstances in which women commit criminal offences are different from men."
– The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders

"In no circumstances may restrictions or disciplinary sanctions amount to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The following practices, in particular, shall be prohibited: (a) Indefinite solitary confinement; (b) Prolonged solitary confinement"
– UN Nelson Mandela Rules

"The purposes of a sentence of imprisonment or similar measures deprivative of a person’s liberty are primarily to protect society against crime and to reduce recidivism. Those purposes can be achieved only if the period of imprisonment is used to ensure, so far as possible, the reintegration of such persons into society upon release so that they can lead a law-abiding and self-supporting life."
– UN Nelson Mandela Rules