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.

Critical Resistance: Abolitionist Resources in Response to COVID-19
Prison Policy Initiative: Clearinghouse on COVID-19 and the criminal justice system
The Appeal: Coronavirus coverage tracking U.S. prisons & jails
Recommendations for Pandemic Release, Transition and Care for People in Prisons and Jails
ACLU Smart Justice: Report on crime & COVID-19 decarceration
The Justice Collaborative Recommendations on Governors’ COVID-19 Actions
Letter asking Governor Newsom to decarcerate in the face of COVID-19
Tell Congress: Pass the COVID-19 Compassion and Martha Wright Prison Phone Justice Act


Black and Pink
Black Mamas Bailout
A New Way of Life Reentry Project
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
College and Community Fellowship
Essie Justice Group
National Council For Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls
Operation Restoration
Survived and Punished
Sylvia Rivera Law Center
UnPrison Project
Women’s Prison Association
Young Women’s Freedom Center

Angel Tree
Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth
Children of Inmates
Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
National Conference of State Legislatures
National Juvenile Justice Network
National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated
Project Nia
Reclaiming Futures
We Got Us Now 


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


Alliance for Safety and Justice
American Civil Liberties Union
Anti Recidivism Coalition
The Bail Project
Beyond Prisons
Color of Change
Common Justice
The Constitution ProjectCritical Resistance
Equal Justice Initiative
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics
Healing Broken Circles
Innocence Project
Just Detention International
Justice Center, Council of State Governments
Nation Inside
National Bail Fund Network
National Bailout
National Employment Law Project: Fair Chance Hiring
National H.I.R.E. Network
The Pew Center on the States Public Safety Project
Prison Legal News
Prison Policy Initiative
Restorative Justice Online
Right on Crime
The Sentencing Project
Vera Institute of Justice