A Legacy of Inequality
Mass incarceration is racially biased and emerged from chattel slavery. There are staggering racial disparities among who is detained. In fact, Black and Brown people are disproportionately impacted by every part of our justice system, from uneven monitoring and policing of their communities to receiving longer sentences for the same crimes as their white counterparts.
Unfair bail policies incarcerate people before trial because they don’t have access to cash. Any given day here in America, 450,000 people suffer the trauma of jail – not for a crime, but because they can’t afford to pay cash bail for their freedom. Imagine the children whose parents aren’t home to help them get to school. Imagine the short-staffed small businesses who can’t get the job done.
Prison sentences are racially disparate and too long for all offenses. Misguided laws passed during the “tough on crime” era doubled and tripled prison time for minor offenses, as well as serious ones. Consider that in 2015, Black people and Latinx people were 32% of the nation, but 56% of those who are incarcerated.
People who enter the system are not fully free after released. People leave incarceration with optimism for their future but blocked by discrimination and legal barriers to housing, jobs and education that prevent their success.
Our Grantmaking Strategies
Our four grantmaking strategies support our objective to drive and build public will for ending mass incarceration with the goal of safely reducing the prison populations in priority states by 20% by 2022.
Art is Transformative
Art powerfully exposes the pain, injustice and racial bias in our criminal justice system, gives voice to people erased from this conversation and creates the compassion and empathy necessary to drive social change.