Justice Reform Organizations

In 1980, there were about 500,000 people in prison in the U.S. Today there are 2.3 million, and according to the 2008 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics there’s a total of over 7 million people on parole or probation or locked up. A great number of these people have committed non-violent offenses, and this dramatic change is due to laws and sentencing guidelines related to the “war on drugs,” which has not improved drug addiction or abuse in this country. Overincarceration in America destabilizes families and communities, making life outside the mainstream more likely as a result of limited to no opportunity for change. We have a racially biased justice system that overpunishes, fails to rehabilitate, and doesn’t make us safer.

Fortunately there are many people around the country who are working to change our criminal justice system so that we’ll have fewer Americans in prison without compromising public safety. Here are just a few organizations that are helping to make our justice system work properly for all of us.

WOMEN
Alabama Women’s Resource Network
Black and Pink
A New Way of Life Reentry Project
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
The Center for Young Women’s Development
College and Community Fellowship
Essie Justice Group
JustUs Voices
National Council For Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls
Power Inside
Survived and Punished
Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance
Women In Prison Project
Women On the Rise Telling HerStory
Women’s Prison Association

CHILDREN
Angel Tree
Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth
Children of Inmates
Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Corporation for National and Community Service
Family and Corrections Network
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
National Juvenile Justice Network
National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated
Reclaiming Futures National Program Office

WRITING AND BOOKS
Book ’Em
Books Through Bars
InsideOUT Writers
PEN American Center Prison Writing Program
Women’s Prison Book Project

NATIONAL RESOURCES
Alliance for Safety and Justice
American Civil Liberties Union
Brennan Center for Justice
The Constitution Project
Cut50
Equal Justice Initiative
Families Against Mandatory Minimums

Innocence Project
Just Detention International
JustLeadershipUSA
Justice Center, Council of State Governments
Nation Inside
National Employment Law Project: Fair Chance Hiring
National H.I.R.E. Network
The Pew Center on the States Public Safety Project
Prison Policy Initiative
Right on Crime
The Sentencing Project
Vera Institute of Justice

INNOVATIVE AND INTERESTING
Alliance for Safety and Justice
Albert Cobarrubius Justice Project
Common Justice

WOMEN

Alabama Women’s Resource Network
401 Beacon Parkway W
Birmingham, AL 35209-3105
205-916-0135 ext. 501
Alabama Women’s Resource Network works to reduce the number of women in prison in Alabama by promoting investment in neighborhood resources and community-based alternatives to prison.

A New Way of Life Reentry Project
PO Box 875288
Los Angeles, CA 90087
323-563-3575
Led by Susan Burton, a CNN Hero of 2010, A New Way of Life Reentry Project provides housing, support services and leadership development to formerly incarcerated women in South Central Los Angeles, facilitating a successful transition back to community life.

California Coalition for Women Prisoners
1540 Market St, Suite 490
San Francisco, CA 94102
415-255-7036
California Coalition for Women Prisoners is a grassroots social justice organization, with members inside and outside prison, which prioritizes the leadership of the people, families, and communities most impacted by the prison system in building this movement.

The Center for Young Women’s Development
832 Folsom St, Suite 700
San Francisco, CA 94107
415-703-8800
The Center for Young Women’s Development is one of the first non-profits in the United States run and led entirely by young women. They organize young women who are the most marginalized in San Francisco — those in the street economies and the juvenile justice system — to design and deliver peer-to-peer education and support.

Power Inside
PO Box 4796
Baltimore, MD 21211
410-889-8333
Power Inside is committed to building self-sufficiency and preventing incarceration among women and families in Baltimore through direct client services, advocacy, leadership development and public education.

Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance
Beyondmedia Education
4001 N Ravenswood, #204B
Chicago, IL 60613
773-857-7300
Women and Prison: a Site for Resistance is a website that makes visible women’s experiences in the criminal justice system. Documenting these stories in women’s own voices is essential to truly understand the reality of women’s experiences in prisons and jails. The stories are supported by a collection of resources, such as organizations, reports, essays, and links to a wide range of information on women and prison.

Women In Prison Project
c/o Correctional Association of New York
2090 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd, Suite 200
New York, NY 10027
212-254-5700
The Women in Prison Project is dedicated to addressing the effects of New York’s criminal justice policies on women and their families. The Project advocates for a shift in government priorities away from prison and toward alternative programs where a woman can stay connected to her family, address underlying issues, and become a productive member of society.

Women On the Rise Telling HerStory
c/o The Osborne Association
809 Westchester Ave
Bronx, NY 10455
917-626-8168
WORTH (Women on the Rise Telling HerStory) is an advocacy and consultant group comprised of formerly and incarcerated women, who have the expertise and understanding to engage, navigate and challenge policies and perceptions concerning incarcerated women.

Women’s Prison Association
110 Second Ave
New York, NY 10003
646-292-7740
The Women’s Prison Association, founded in 1865, is the nation’s oldest service and advocacy organization committed to helping women with criminal justice histories see new possibilities for themselves and their families. WPA offers a host of useful information and resources on issues facing these women and our families, in addition to housing, health, employment and family services and leadership and advocacy training.

The National Institute of Corrections and the Women’s Prison Association partnered to create a searchable online National Directory of Programs for Women with Criminal Justice Involvement. This database provides a place where practitioners, policymakers, and community members can find information on programs and services for women in the criminal justice system. The database includes state-by-state programs and services for women at all stages of criminal justice involvement, both in correctional facilities and in the community.


CHILDREN

Angel Tree
Prison Fellowship Ministries
44180 Riverside Pkwy, #100
Leesburg, VA 20176-1709
703-478-0100; 800-55ANGEL
The faith community has worked long and hard to provide services to current and former prisoners and address injustice. The Justice Fellowship believes that the way our government handles crime and punishment affects all of us, and advocates for reform, and their related programs include Angel Tree, which serves the children of prisoners at Christmastime and throughout the year.

Children of Inmates
888-757-5439
Children of Inmates is a collaborative effort between nine Miami-Dade County organizations. They identify, encourage, and refer families to the services that will meet the needs of the children of inmates, based on their development and circumstances.

Corporation for National and Community Service
Mentoring Children of Prisoners, Online Resource Center
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, and United We Serve.

Family and Corrections Network
National Resource Center on Children & Families of the Incarcerated
93 Old York Rd, Suite 1 #510
Jenkintown, PA 19046
215-576-1110
Family and Corrections Network’s National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated Works to connect program providers, policy makers, researchers, educators, correctional personnel and the public with the families of the incarcerated for advocacy, action and planning. They provide information on children of the incarcerated, programs for parenting from prison, prison visiting, incarcerated fathers, hospitality programs and a variety of other topics.

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
1540 Market St, Suite 490
San Francisco, CA 94102
415-255-7036
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children advocates for the human rights and empowerment of incarcerated parents, children, family members and people at risk for incarceration. They respond to requests for information, trainings, technical assistance, litigation, community activism and the development of more advocates. Their focus is on women prisoners and their families, and they emphasize that issues of race are central to any discussion of incarceration.

Reclaiming Futures National Program Office
Portland State University
527 SW Hall, Suite 400
Portland OR 97201
503-725-8911
Futures helps young people in trouble with drugs, alcohol, and crime by reinventing the way police, courts, detention facilities, treatment providers, and the community work together (now in 26 communities around the country). Juvenile justice reform is a critical lever for changing the U.S. prison crisis for the better.


WRITING AND BOOKS

PEN American Center Prison Writing Program
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012
212-334-1660
The PEN American Center Prison Writing Program believes in the restorative and rehabilitative power of writing, and serves hundreds of prisoners across the country. The program sponsors an annual writing contest, publishes a free handbook for prisoners, provides one-on-one mentoring to inmates whose writing shows merit or promise, conducts workshops for former inmates, and seeks to get inmates’ work to the public through literary publications and readings.

Book ’Em
The Thomas Merton Center
5129 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
412-361-3022
Book ’Em sends educational books and quality reading material to prisoners and prison libraries all over the U.S.

Books Through Bars
4722 Baltimore Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19143
215-727-8170
Books Through Bars provides book distribution to prisoners and education programs throughout the mid-Atlantic region. They also created a great online resource with contact information for other prison book programs throughout the U.S.: www.booksthroughbars.org/pbp

Women’s Prison Book Project
c/o Boneshaker Books
2002 23rd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404
womensprisonbookproject@gmail.com
The Women’s Prison Book Project provides women and transgender-identified persons in prison with free reading materials covering a wide range of topics from law and education (dictionaries, GED, etc.) to fiction, politics, history, and women’s health.


NATIONAL RESOURCES

Families Against Mandatory Minimums
1612 K Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20006
202-822-6700
Families Against Mandatory Minimums is the national voice for fair and proportionate sentencing laws. They show the human face of sentencing, advocate for state and federal sentencing reform, and mobilize thousands of individuals and families whose lives are adversely affected by unjust sentences. FAMM works to change mandatory sentencing laws through the legislative process on the federal and state levels, participation in precedent-setting legal cases and by educating the public.

Innocence Project
100 Fifth Ave, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10011
212-364-5340
The Innocence Project works to exonerate wrongfully convicted people in the U.S. and reform the justice system so that innocent people do not go to jail. Since 1992 over 250 innocent people have been exonerated through DNA testing (which is available in only a small fraction of criminal cases) including 17 who were at one time sentenced to death.

Just Detention International
3325 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 340
Los Angeles, CA 90010
213-384-1400
Just Detention International is a human rights organization that seeks end sexual abuse in all forms of detention. Just Detention works to ensure government accountability for prisoner rape; to transform ill-informed public attitudes about sexual violence in detention; and to promote access to resources for those who have survived this form of abuse.

Justice Center, Council of State Governments
100 Wall Street, 20th Floor
New York, New York 10005
212-482-2320
The Council of State Governments Justice Center is a national nonprofit organization that serves policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels from all branches of government. Staff provides practical, nonpartisan advice and consensus-driven strategies—informed by available evidence—to increase public safety and strengthen communities. As part of their work they focus on mental health, justice reinvestment, and national re-entry resources.

Nation Inside
PO Box 448
Wilmington, NC 28402
877-410-4863
Nation Inside is a platform that connects and supports people who are building a movement to systematically challenge mass incarceration in the United States.

National H.I.R.E. Network
225 Varick St
New York, NY 10014
212-243-1313
The National H.I.R.E. (Helping Individuals with criminal records Re-enter through Employment) Network is both a national clearinghouse for employment information and an advocate for policy change.

The Pew Center on the States Public Safety Project
901 E St NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20004-1409
202-552-2000
The Pew Center on the States Public Safety Performance Project helps states advance fiscally sound, data-driven policies and practices in sentencing and corrections that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable and control corrections costs.

Vera Institute of Justice
233 Broadway, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10279
212-334-1300
The Vera Institute of Justice is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit center for justice policy and practice. Their projects and reform initiatives, typically conducted in partnership with local, state, or national officials, are located across the U.S. and around the world. They help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety.


INNOVATIVE AND INTERESTING

PrisonMovement’s Weblog, from a tireless reformer. Her blogroll is extensive.

Reentry Central
Box 411
New Haven, CT 06513
203-468-6589
Reentry Central provides a centralized national news and information site for professionals in the fields of ex-offender reentry and related criminal justice areas.

Restorative Justice Online
Restorative justice emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime. When victims, offenders and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can be transformational. This is very different from retribution, and is grounded in cultures around the world. Find out how it’s put into practice.