Insight Prison Project


San Rafael, CA

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $804,980
Expenses: $700,392
Assets: $615,982

Executive Director:

Leonard Rubio


Prisoner Rehabilitation Nonprofit



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Insight Prison Project (“IPP”) is a left-of-center nonprofit organization that offers courses with a “restorative justice” focus within prisons and jails. These courses aim to reduce recidivism by persons who have committed violent crimes by convincing them to understand and accept the consequences of their actions. 1

History and Philosophy

Insight Prison Project was founded in 1997 at San Quentin State Prison in California, which houses more than 4,000 inmates, some of which have been sentenced to death. It currently operates in more than 25 state and federal prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities. 2

IPP is based on a philosophy of “restorative justice,” which focuses on “healing” rather than punishment, instead encouraging prisoners to “take responsibility for their actions.” IPP expressly rejects the current American justice system, which it claims improperly prioritizes punishment for criminal offenders. 3


IPP’s primary program is the Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG), a 12- to 18-month program that aims to encourage criminal offenders to take responsibility for the impact of their crimes, such that they can change their outlooks on life and be productive when they are released from prison. 4

Weekly VOEG class meetings begin with a “check-in” conversation, where each prisoner updates the group on his current physical and emotional status. Participants also share and discuss their homework exercises, which usually require participants to describe “events and causes preceding the prisoners’ offenses and their negative consequences,” to explain why they committed their crimes. VOEG also says that such a system will challenge cognitive distortions,” thoughts that IPP alleges contribute to criminal behavior. 5

Other elements of the VOEG curriculum require participants to practice yoga to reduce stress, draft a crime impact statement, meet with crime victims in a victim impact panel, and practice relapse prevention skills. The goal of VOEG is to “encourage the prisoners to empathize with the victims and become more conscious of the ramifications of their actions.” A 2012 evaluation of VOEG by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency found that the program offered “promising strategies to improve well-being and reduce violence,” and had positive impacts on aggression, self-esteem, and problem-solving among inmates. As of late 2020, there have not yet been any analyses of the program’s effect on recidivism rates. 6

In 2020, a VOEG meeting in which participants met with a “surrogate victim,” a person hurt by a crime similar to the one the inmate committed, was the subject of a documentary film called The Prison Within. The film won several awards. 7

IPP also offers Victim Offender Dialogues, where offenders have structured face-to-face meetings with their victims under the guidance of a trained facilitator. 8

IPP acts as a fiscal sponsor for aligned groups working with incarcerated people in California, including groups that work with incarcerated veterans and prison-based arts groups. 9


IPP’s executive director is Leonard Rubio, a graduate of the VOEG program who spent 23 years incarcerated in California for murdering his girlfriend when he was 18 years old. 10


  1. “Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG).” Insight Prison Project. Accessed November 14, 2020.
  2. Jill Suttie. “Can Restorative Justice Help Prisoners to Heal?” The Greater Good. June 9, 2015. Accessed November 14, 2020.
  3. “What Is Restorative Justice?” Insight Prison Project. Accessed November 14, 2020.
  4. “Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG).” Insight Prison Project. Accessed November 14, 2020.
  5. Silva, Fabiana and Christopher Hartney. “Evaluation of the Insight Prison Project.” National Council on Crime and Delinquency. June 2012. Accessed November 14, 2020.
  6. Silva, Fabiana and Christopher Hartney. “Evaluation of the Insight Prison Project.” National Council on Crime and Delinquency. June 2012. Accessed November 14, 2020.
  7. Simonpillai, Radheyan. “The Prison Within: inside a moving documentary about restorative justice.” The Guardian. August 25, 2020. Accessed November 14, 2020.
  8. “Victim Offender Dialogues.” Insight Prison Project. Accessed November 14, 2020.
  9. Insight Prison Project. Return of An Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). 2017. Line 4b.
  10. Kuruvila, Matthai. “SF march seeks to stop cycle of violence.” San Francisco Chronicle. January 13, 2013. Accessed November 14, 2020.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2003

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Jun Form 990 $804,980 $700,392 $615,982 $107,167 N $650,795 $124,032 $6,297 $89,436 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $574,999 $550,264 $492,340 $81,107 N $459,022 $89,115 $9,175 $82,000
    2015 Jun Form 990 $523,764 $515,278 $436,509 $48,959 N $418,880 $83,256 $11,368 $93,554 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $480,675 $660,701 $449,173 $70,108 N $351,505 $108,114 $20,102 $97,740 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $861,362 $547,880 $616,391 $54,594 N $801,105 $54,283 $5,974 $99,000 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $488,653 $586,284 $299,736 $51,421 N $433,447 $54,622 $485 $90,485 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $514,758 $692,594 $411,100 $100,908 N $468,935 $44,000 $1,823 $86,985 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Insight Prison Project

    2169 East Francisco Blvd, Suite E
    San Rafael, CA 94612-3953