Press Release

82% of Americans support prison oversight, according to first-ever national poll 

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Tripp Laino, 202-999-4273

82% of Americans support prison oversight, according to first-ever national poll 


WASHINGTON – Today, FAMM released the results of the first-ever national poll on prison oversight. Among other findings, an overwhelming 82% of respondents said they believe “that states and the federal government should have a system of independent oversight for their prisons.”

“It’s been said that sunlight is the best disinfectant — and our prisons and jails are the darkest places in the nation,” said FAMM President Kevin Ring. “With no meaningful oversight, our prison systems are rife with waste, fraud and abuse. Incarcerated people and correctional officers are not safe, and our elected leaders are not even aware of the problems that need to be fixed. Our poll reveals that an overwhelming majority of the public – Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike – wants that to change.”

In addition to showing widespread support for independent oversight, the FAMM poll revealed:

  • 73% of respondents believe that prisons should be inspected by professionals who are independent of the prison system they are inspecting.
  • 68% said they do not trust government agencies to investigate their own problems and honestly report on them to lawmakers and the public.
  • Respondents overwhelmingly believe that it is very important for independent oversight bodies to be fully staffed (91%), have authority to investigate complaints from prison staff and prisoners (91%), and have full access to the prison system’s facilities and documents (90%).

FAMM has advocated independent prison oversight for years; it’s one of the top issues family members bring up when discussing their incarcerated loved ones. The ongoing Visit A Prison campaign encourages lawmakers to tour the prisons in their jurisdiction, and catalogs the visits on a map of the United States.

On behalf of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), Robert Blizzard of Public Opinion Strategies completed a national survey of 1000 registered voters via online. The survey was conducted July 29-August 3, 2022 and has a credibility interval of + 3.53%.

For more than three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM has led the fight to reform extreme mandatory sentencing laws and to promote rehabilitation and dignity for all people in prison, 94 percent of whom will return to our neighborhoods one day.


FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families.