Five Steps to Take Action
FIRST, educate yourself. Outcasts: Surviving the Culture of Rejection presents the problems surrounding reentry, recidivism, sentencing policies, mass incarceration, private prisons, and recovery options for released prisoners. Most viewers want to know how to take action. Click each step at the left for more information.
SECOND, reach out to lawmakers. Contact policymakers on the local, state and federal levels with facts and information and ask them to take steps to reform our criminal justice system; express your concern about mass incarceration and extreme punishments. Review legislation that is being introduced, and contact legislators to either support or oppose bills related to criminal justice issues, as appropriate.
THIRD, network with other organizations. Combine your energy with existing organizations for greater impact. There are a variety of groups focused on issues similar to your concerns that have already done their homework and have a spot just waiting for you to get involved. Offer to do volunteer work. Support them with donations. Support their campaigns.
FOURTH, contact the media – news and social! Write to TV stations and reporters, submit editorials, write letters to the editor. Spread the word on social media to friends, family members and others. One major way to effect change is to change the public opinion and perception on criminal justice issues. Respond to an article, editorial or current event promptly. Stick to the point, keep it simple and keep your emotions in check.
FIFTH, get involved locally. Support local businesses that hire ex-felons, and encourage business owners in your community not to rule out hiring people who have spent time in prison. Get to know prisoners in local jails and help by providing transportation for their families to visit. Form a study group around specific criminal justice issues in your local community, and have the group reach out to lawmakers and policymakers. Read books and watch movies as a group (such as Outcasts: Surviving the Culture of Rejection, Snitch, The House I Live In, The New Jim Crow) and discuss afterward.
Resources for Change
To provide services and connect people with resources needed to return successfully to work and community after incarceration.
Nation Inside is a community of people dedicated to changing the U.S. criminal justice system.
Ban the Box Campaign
Ban the Box campaign challenges the stereotypes of people with conviction histories by asking employers to choose their best candidates based on job skills and qualifications, not past convictions.
Take One is an opportunity for citizens to take an active role in the improvement of public safety by helping offenders find their way to a new, productive, and crime-free way of life reunited with their families, friends and their communities.
A New Way of Life
A New Way of Life Reentry Project provides housing and support services to formerly incarcerated women in South Central Los Angeles, facilitating a successful transition back to community life.
Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the prison industrial complex (PIC) by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe.
TN Assn of Drug Court Professionals
TADCP works to promote public safety, strengthen communities, and reduce recidivism related to substance abuse.
Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)
FAMM works to change mandatory sentencing laws through the legislative process on the federal and state levels, participation in precedent-setting legal cases and by educating the public.
If a nonviolent felony was not involved, an alternative sentence for drug-related crimes could be a stint in a drug rehab center. A judge may require completion of a detox, rehab program or sober living facility as an alternative to jail time.
Some of those facilities are: AToN Center (atoncenter.com); CASA Recovery (casarecovery.com); CMR Recovery Residence (cmrrecovery.com); Morningside Recovery (morningsiderecovery.com); Sovereign Health Group (sovcal.com); The Recovery Place® (therecoveryplace.net); and Saint Jude Retreat (soberforever.net).
Government Homelessness Assistance