Worth Rises' new report, The Prison Industry: How It Started, How It Works, and How It Harms, illuminates the role of the private sector in mass incarceration. The report offers personal accounts from people who have been impacted by the greedy, harmful practices of the prison industry. Worth Rises also ran a full-page ad in The New York Times addressed to the NBA Board of Governors, condemning Detroit Pistons owner and prison profiteer Tom Gores. Worth Rises also launched a petition calling on the NBA Board of Governors to force Tom to sell the Detroit Pistons unless he divests from Securus.
Prison Policy Initiative
In December, PPI released "Mass Incarceration, COVID-19, and Community Spread," a report providing the first national estimates of how prisons and jails contributed to coronavirus infections, both inside and outside prisons. In collaboration with Professor Gregory Hooks, PPI determined that over half a million COVID-19 cases were directly linked to mass incarceration. With this information, lawmakers need to depopulate and decarcerate correctional facilities to prevent even more cases and deaths linked to the conditions in prisons and jails.
Fair and Just Prosecution
FJP released a new video featuring 16 reform-minded prosecutors sharing their criminal justice resolutions for 2021. Nearly 100 criminal justice leaders issued a joint statement in response to the Trump Administration's unprecedented execution spree. FJP also released this list of proposals for the Biden-Harris administration's first 100 days. FJP Executive Director Miriam Krinsky and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine expanded on these recommendations in their CNN op-ed. The team also released a new resource on youth justice and op-eds about federal marijuana decriminalization and ending the practice of prosecuting children as adults.
Alliance for Safety and Justice
Alliance for Safety and Justice recently hosted "Shared Safety - Putting the Public into Public Safety," a panel discussion exploring community solutions that go beyond reliance on the criminal justice system to reduce crime and build safety. Public safety and violence prevention experts discussed high-priority investments into community-based programs. Panelists included: Jorja Leap, The Health and Social Justice Partnership; Aquil Basheer, Professional Community Intervention Training Institute International; Aqeela Sherrills, Newark Community Street Team; Melvyn Hayward, Chicago CRED; and Gary Slutkin MD, Cure Violence. You can learn more about the recently launched National Coalition for Shared Safety here.
Coalition to End money Bond
On December 21, 2020, the Coalition to End Money Bond sent a letter signed by more than 60 groups to the Illinois Department of Public Health, outlining the need to prioritize vaccine access for incarcerated individuals. Chicago Community Bond Fund Director Sharlyn Grace also joined a Facebook live event with other advocates for priority vaccine access and appeared on local evening news. On December 31st, the Illinois Department of Public Health released an updated COVID-19 vaccination plan, which prioritizes incarcerated people as part of Phase 1b, immediately after healthcare workers and people in long-term care facilities.
Court Watch NOLA
Court Watch NOLA's Executive Director, Simone Levine, was selected to serve on District Attorney-Elect Jason Williams' transition team. Levine currently serves as the co-chair for the Rebuild Public Trust & Transparency working group. District Attorney-elect Jason Williams ran on a reform platform and fully endorsed the platform created by the People's DA Coalition, a grassroots coalition launched by founding organizations, Court Watch NOLA, Promise of Justice Initiative, and VOTE. Court Watch NOLA will now have a voice in ensuring public accountability for a district attorney's office that was previously synonymous with mass incarceration, the denial of victim rights, and the wide scale deprivation of constitutional rights. Court Watch NOLA remains committed to the fight for transparent, equitable, and just courts in Louisiana.
Texas Inmate Families Association
TIFA will be celebrating its 25th anniversary and recent hiring of Tracy Williams, the first field minister (FM) paroled from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). TIFA is now working to bring peer support to people who are reentering the community after incarceration. In collaboration with FMs inside TDCJ, TIFA is launching a network of peer specialists on the outside to create a continuum of care and support for impacted families.