Criminal Justice Reform

We believe that the Criminal Justice system in New York State is toxic for everyone involved, both the people who live behind the walls and the people who sign on to work in corrections. Just like in Pennsylvania coal country, North Country politicians and unions are both stuck in an us versus them conversation that leaves out the facts of this industry: both incarcerated people and corrections officers have a reduced life expectancy of more than 10 years, there are high levels of PTSD in both groups, and violence is the norm instead of the exception.


Wake The North Country is involved in several reform and awareness raising projects.



This is a pilot program to benefit people who have served their time and are returning home from prison. Throughtout these mountains, newly released folks are regularly dropped off to catch the bus south, and we have found that many newly released people are ill prepared for their journey. This program seeks to provide basic provisions such as food and water, as well as a note of encouragement. For more information click here!



In 2015 the United Nations passed a resolution outlining rules for the treatment of prisoners that included restrictions on the use of Solitary Confinement. This practice of segregating people for 23 or 24 hours a day with no meaningful human contact is considered torture by the UN if it continues for more than 15 days because it causes permanent mental deterioration. See rules #43,44,&45 at: The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners


The United States signed on to the resolution and yet, in NY State, folks are placed in “The Box” for indeterminate amounts of time, and serve months and years, and even decades without any meaningful human contact or education or other programs.


Would you like to write to someone who is serving this kind of hard time in Solitary Confinement in the North Country? Become a pen pal so these people know they are not forgotten on the outside. In conjunction with Solitary Watch, we have over 30 writing pairs in the North Country today. About Solitary Watch

Join us for advocacy days in Albany or get free support to visit your legislator in their home office.  Did you know you have the right to make an appointment to talk to your representative even if you didn’t vote for them? Wake The North Country sponsors area teach-ins, events, and advocacy days in Albany. Get in touch! Sign up with us or the N.Y. Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (NY CAIC)



On October 1st Raise the Age, a law governing juvenile detention, went into effect and a number of 16 year olds have arrived at Adirondack Correctional Facility in Ray Brook. We are looking for educators interested in teaching on the inside, organic farmers and culinary artists interested in teaching on the inside, formerly incarcerated people interested in mentoring youth post release, and businesses interested in employing formerly incarcerated youth.

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The Nelson Mandela Rules

...mass incarceration was, and is, perhaps the preeminent moral domestic issue of our day."

Ta-Nehisi Coates