Who We Are
Initiate Justice was created for and by people impacted by incarceration. We are:
- 7,000 members & 170 organizers, across every CA prison
- Policy & Organizing staff & volunteers across CA
- 100% led by people impacted by incarceration and their loved ones
Our Inside-Outside Organizing strategy unites currently incarcerated people, their families, formerly incarcerated people, and allies together to launch coordinated campaigns fighting mass incarceration. We also provide timely updates on changes to law and policy that affect our members. Most of our organizing takes place in prison visiting rooms, in front of county jails, through newsletters, and inside prisons themselves.
Voting Rights Campaigns:
In 2018, Initiate Justice launched a campaign to restore voting rights to all CA citizens regardless of criminal justice history. The Voting Restoration and Democracy Act (VRDA) would have restored voting rights to 162,000 currently or formerly incarcerated people, but our grassroots, 100% volunteer effort did not gather the required 550,000 signatures. We will be back in 2020!
In 2019, we are partnering with CA Assembly Member Kevin McCarty and All of Us or None, Vote Allies, Anti Recidivism Coalition, and People over Profits SD to restore voting rights to everyone on parole in CA. Follow our social media and watch for updates on our Voting Rights page.
Democracy Needs Everyone:
To support our work restoring voting rights, we are highlighting the voices of currently and formerly incarcerated people who want their voting rights restored so that they can be part of the solutions we need for a fairer, safer, and healthier California. Our “If I Could Vote” Video and “Democracy Needs Everyone” Report demonstrate that the 162,000 people who are denied the right to vote in CA want to be able to vote to improve their communities, and support policies that would improve jobs & the economy, health care, education, and public safety and criminal justice.
SB 1437 Passes, Repealing the Felony Murder Rule!
Initiate Justice co-sponsored SB 1437 to end the Felony Murder Rule, which convicted individuals of felony murder even if they did not commit the murder themselves and were not aware that a murder would take place in a situation. This bill, led by Senators Nancy Skinner and Joel Anderson passed on 8/30/18 in the CA Senate. The bill will go into effect January 1st, 2019, and is retroactive! This bill was Initiate Justice’s first co-sponsored bill to pass, and we are extremely proud that we were able to fight to make this bill retroactive for our members unfairly affected by the felony murder rule.
Unlocking the power of families, inside and out.