We build the power of people directly impacted by mass incarceration to be leaders in the movement to end it. We organize both inside and outside of prisons, mobilizing incarcerated people, formerly incarcerated people, their loved ones, and allies in California to push the same campaigns. Most of our organizing takes place in prison visiting rooms, in front of county jails, through newsletters, and inside prisons themselves. We also provide timely updates on changes to law and criminal justice policy that will affect our members.
Who We Are
Initiate Justice was created by and for incarcerated people, formerly incarcerated people, and people with incarcerated loved ones. We are:
- 8,000 incarcerated members & 175 Inside Organizers across every CA state prison
- Policy & Organizing staff, Outside Organizers, & volunteers across CA
- 100% led by people impacted by incarceration & their loved ones
Institute of Impacted Leaders:
Launching in 2019, the Institute will host cohorts of people impacted by incarceration, inside and outside of prisons, developing their community organizing and policy advocacy skills to become leaders in the our mission to end mass incarceration. We will train 20 Outside Organizers from around CA, and conduct in-person trainings to Inside Organizers at 18 CA facilities (half of the prisons in CA). Learn more about the Institute of Impacted Leaders.
Voting Rights For All:
162,00o currently or formerly incarcerated people have lost their right to vote under current California Law. Initiate Justice is campaigning to restore voting rights to all Californians. We attempted a state ballot initiative, the Voting Restoration and Democracy Act (VRDA), in 2018. In 2019, we are partnering with CA Assembly Member Kevin McCarty and several ally organizations to restore voting rights to everyone on parole in CA.
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 solution for a fairer, safer, and healthier California. We sent in-depth surveys to more than 1,000 of our members inside, asking about their policy priorities. The responses are shared and analyzed in our upcoming “Democracy Needs Everyone” report. We also created “If I Could Vote“, a video interviewing several organizers who don’t have the right to vote, but have ideas and goals for their vote that would make our communities better.
Follow our social media and watch for updates on our Voting Rights page.
SB 1437 Passes, Repealing the Felony Murder Rule!
Initiate Justice co-sponsored SB 1437 to end the Felony Murder Rule, effective January 1st, 2019. Previously, the Felony Murder Rule sentenced people with murder, even if they did not commit a murder, or know that one would take place. This bill was Initiate Justice’s first co-sponsored bill to pass, and is retroactive, a huge win for our members our members who had been affected by the felony murder rule. Read more about SB 1437 on our legislation page.
Unlocking the power of families, inside and out.