The Real Cost of Prisons Project is a national organization based in Northampton, MA.  Founded in 2000, the RCPP brings together justice activists, artists, researchers and people directly experiencing the impact of mass incarceration. Working in collaboration with other organizations, our work is focused on challenging the harsh and damaging conditions confinement faced by every prisoner in the United States, ending extreme sentences and working for non-carceral alternatives to the criminal legal system.

In MA, we work in collaboration organizations and individuals including incarcerated organizers, writers and researchers. We educate legislators, students, reporters and the public to dispel the myth that Massachusetts is a  “progressive” state when it comes to the criminal legal system. As long as this myth is perpetuated, there will never be pressure needed to make the change we need. 

Tiyo’s Songs of Life” is a project which began in 2005 and is being realized in 2022. This is a joint project between the RCPP and composer, arranger and saxophone player Felipe Salles, bass player Avery Sharpe and 2 other musicians and Bombyx in Florence MA where a concert of “Tiyo’s Songs” will be produced on June 11, 2022. The principle goal of this project is educate the public about the cruelty and waste of the sentence of life without parole through Tiyo’s music and his remarkable accomplishments despite 50 years of incarceration. In MA, more than 1000 of approximately 5800 prisoners are serving this sentence.” Lois Ahrens