This month our blog features the work of three nonprofit organizations, InsideOUT Writers, POPS the Club, and Jail Guitar Doors, that offer life-changing programing for individuals affected by the criminal justice system. Given the interest in this work, we’re featuring a number of other nonprofits below that also serve youth affected by the criminal justice system.
The mission of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition is to change lives and create safe, healthy communities by providing a support and advocacy network for and by formerly incarcerated men and women. To accomplish this mission, ARC advocates for fair policies in the juvenile and criminal justice systems and provides a supportive network and reentry services to formerly incarcerated individuals.
ARC was founded in 2013 as a peer support network for formerly incarcerated people. It now offers comprehensive services, including case management, trauma counseling, housing, education and employment assistance, mentorship, and opportunities for civic engagement. Today, over 1,200 active formerly incarcerated members participate across California and ARC serves over 6,000 men and women still inside prisons and facilities.
Homies Unidos originally formed to address the problems of urban violence and the internationalization of gangs in 1996 when a group of youth, mainly gang members deported from Los Angeles, came together in San Salvador, El Salvador to discuss methods and means of diminishing the violence that plagued them. The organization was formed out of these meetings the organization. Homies Unidos works to end violence and promote peace in communities by empowering youth and their families to become advocates for social justice rather than agents of self-destruction. They offer an alternative vision to incarceration, deportation, and repressive and ineffective zero-tolerance “gang abatement” and “band-aid” social service strategies.
CADRE is an independent, community-based, organizing and social justice-driven parent membership organization in South Los Angeles founded in 2001 and led by Black/African American and Latino parents and caregivers whose children attend local schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). CADRE advances systemic social change and organizes for the long haul to end the school-to-prison pipeline and pushout in South LA and communities like it.
The cornerstone to this level of change is a parent-led movement with community-based social justice organizations that bring parents into the foreground of the public education debate. This is essential to making sure that the leadership of ending the school-to-prison pipeline is shared with those most impacted by an unequal education system that has spanned generations.
All of Us or None is a grassroots civil and human rights organization fighting for the rights of formerly- and currently- incarcerated people and their families. All of Us or None is fighting against the discrimination that people face every day because of arrest or conviction history. The goal of All of Us or None is to strengthen the voices of people most affected by mass incarceration and the growth of the prison-industrial complex. Through grassroots organizing, All of Us or None is building a powerful political movement to win full restoration of human and civil rights.
All of Us or None is a project of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) which organizes communities impacted by the criminal justice system and advocates to release incarcerated people, to restore human and civil rights and to reunify families and communities. LSPC builds public awareness of structural racism in policing, the courts and prison system, and advances racial and gender justice in all its work.
The Youth Justice Coalition is working to build a youth, family, and formerly and currently incarcerated people’s movement to challenge America’s addiction to incarceration and race, gender and class discrimination in Los Angeles County’s, California’s and the nation’s juvenile and criminal injustice systems. The YJC’s goal is to dismantle policies and institutions that have ensured the massive lock-up of people of color, widespread law enforcement violence and corruption, consistent violation of youth and communities’ Constitutional and human rights, the construction of a vicious school-to-jail track, and the build-up of the world’s largest network of jails and prisons.
The YJC uses transformative justice and community intervention/peacebuilding, free LA High School, know your rights, legal defense, and police and court monitoring to “starve the beast” – promoting safety in schools, homes and neighborhoods without relying on law enforcement and lock-ups, preventing system contact, and pulling people out of the system. They use direct action organizing, advocacy, political education, and activist arts to agitate, expose, and pressure the people in charge in order to upset power and bring about change.
JustLeadershipUSA is dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in #halfby2030. JLUSA empowers people most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform. Mass incarceration is the most significant domestic threat to the fabric of democracy. The reason for such high incarceration rates is not serious crimes but misguided policies such as mandatory minimums, three-strikes laws and reductions in the availability of parole and other early release mechanisms. Through targeted advocacy, strengthening leadership and membership support, JustLeadershipUSA believes a decarcerated America is possible.
JLUSA was founded in November 2014 by national criminal justice reform advocate Glenn E. Martin, on the guiding principle that “those closest to the problem are closest to the solution, but furthest from resources and power.” The inspiration for JLUSA came from Mr. Martin’s personal experience, having been previously incarcerated for six years. JLUSA’s #halfby2030 mission came from Mr. Martin’s love for his youngest son, Joshua Martin, who will turn 18 in 2030.
Dignity and Power Now is a Los Angeles based grassroots organization founded in 2012 that fights for the dignity and power of all incarcerated people, their families, and communities. Their mission is to build a Black and Brown led abolitionist movement rooted in community power towards the goal of achieving transformative justice and healing justice for all incarcerated people, their families, and communities.
Grounded in the principles of abolition, healing justice, and transformative justice, they have multiple programs centered around activism, health and wellness, and leadership building, including a coalition to end sheriff violence, a coalition to stop jail construction, an arts and wellness collective, a rapid response team of healers, a leadership institute for high school aged youth affected by incarceration, a leadership institute for people coming home from prison, a reentry program inside Soledad State Prison, and an influential media department. Immediate campaign focuses include establishing comprehensive and effective civilian oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and allocating the money from LA County’s 3.5 billion dollar jail plan into mental health diversion programs and community resources.
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