A Legacy of Inequality

  • Policing that preys on racial difference and economic disadvantage. Police too often make “zero tolerance” arrests for minor infractions in poor neighborhoods, funneling disproportionate numbers of people of color into the justice system.
  • Unfair bail policies that incarcerate people before trial based largely on their poverty. Any given day in America, roughly 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. These policies do not reflect a person’s public safety or flight risk.
  • Prison stays that 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. If African American and Hispanic people were incarcerated at the same rates as white people, prison and jail populations would decline by almost 40%.
  • People who enter the system stay in the system. People leave prison hobbled by discrimination and legal barriers to housing, jobs and education that prevent their success.
A Legacy of Inequality

Our Grantmaking Strategies

Our four grantmaking strategies support our objective to drive and build public will for criminal justice reforms, with the goal of safely reducing the prison populations in priority states by 20% by 2022.
Keeping People Out of Jail and Prison

Strategy One

Keeping People Out of Jail and Prison

Our grantee partners are committed to justice reinvestment, which is reallocating government funding from prisons to tangible investments in communities hardest hit by poverty, violence and incarceration.

Shortening Sentences

Strategy Two

Shortening Sentences

The fund is supporting work to reform or repeal excessive prison sentences and incarceration laws.

Promoting Reentry

Strategy Three

Promoting Reentry

The Fund is supporting work to increase opportunities for formerly incarcerated people and eliminating the unnecessary barriers they face to being part of their communities when they return home.

Changing the Narrative Through Art

Strategy Four

Changing the Narrative Through Art

We invest in artists so that they can continue to show the human impact of mass incarceration and tell the stories of the mothers, fathers, spouses, friends and students who are caught behind bars.

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.

Meet Our Grantees