Correctional agencies should consistently share information with the public about policies, practices, and operations, as well as conditions within facilities, to promote accountability and continuous improvement of correctional culture.

Pathways to increasing transparency in corrections

1. Establish a workgroup of vetted corrections professionals (those who have standing with both corrections staff and incarcerated people), leadership, and incarcerated people to review and adjust policies, practices, and procedures to align with this Transparency Principle.

2. Develop policies, practices, and communication strategies that encourage data and information sharing with the public, media, and legislative or governmental entities.

3. Analyze and publish data for incarcerated individuals related to race, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, physical and mental illness, safety, deaths, and critical incidents.

4. To help the public understand the impact of incarceration on different types of communities, publish data on the number of people in the system (by race and gender) who

  • a. have served in the military;
  • b. are parents;
  • c. have been incarcerated more than once;
  • d. have been charged with disciplinary infractions;
  • e. have spent time in restrictive housing;
  • f. have submitted grievances;
  • g. are participating in educational and vocational programming; and
  • h. have jobs.

5. Collect and publish summaries of correctional employment data related to age, race, position, tenure, promotion, and retention.

6. Create an independent agency-focused review board to audit internal practices.

7. Create accountability processes, such as a public dashboard, to share internal statistics and information.

8. Create independent grievance processes for staff, those who are incarcerated, and the families of incarcerated people.

9. Work with oversight bodies, such as legislative committees, community-based organizations, and ombudspersons.

Transparency Principle resources