Total institutions, like prisons, remand and, immigration detention centres, are, to varying degrees, permeable. Lawyers, some scholars, volunteers, visiting family and friends and watchdogs do make it past their walls and can document, in limited ways, what they see and hear on the inside.

The core goal of the Prison Transparency Project (PTP) is to map out and compare cultures of prison transparency, oversight and accountability in nine research sites to create new knowledge about mechanisms of transparency and accountability in carceral systems. The PTP will disseminate our findings in diverse, accessible and open ways across academic, government and not-for-profit sectors to promote a diverse understanding of prison transparency, assist our partner organizations in forming sustainable, long-term local, national and, international networks, subsequently supporting their voices and objectives to improve transparency and accountability. The Prison Transparency Project is divided into two stages – 1.0 and 2.0.

Our partnership asks: why have cultures of transparency emerged in the ways they currently operate and how have they have been transformed over the last 30 years?