WASHINGTON — With 2020 igniting a national reckoning over the American criminal legal system, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Civil Rights Corps are launching Vision for Justice — a new campaign that aims to reimagine public safety and offer a better alternative to the current criminal legal system.
The campaign kicks off with a first-of-its-kind virtual summit that brings together advocates, celebrities, directly impacted leaders, and policymakers who will outline their unified vision to transform the criminal legal system. With this campaign, civil rights groups will offer officials at all levels actionable tools to remove the stain of injustice that has lingered on our democracy as a result of an excessively punitive system. Over the course of the next few years, the groups will work hand in hand with influencers and national leaders through a series of educational events so our policymakers can ensure that our systems reflect the values we profess as a nation.
“The harsh reality is that the current criminal legal system is a stain on American democracy,” said Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Education Fund and The Leadership Conference. “The time to build an America as good as its ideals is now, and one of the most critical steps we can take to begin that process is reimagining what public safety means — especially for communities of color. Our organizations are currently involved in other key initiatives seeking to transform the pretrial system, repeal the harmful provisions of the ‘94 Crime Bill and invest in communities, decriminalize marijuana, and restore voting rights to people with convictions. Our Vision for Justice campaign complements these other initiatives so that we can turn the bold, comprehensive thinking our groups have undertaken these last two years into actionable steps that policymakers can take to transform the American criminal legal system.”
“The United States leads the world in human caging with more than 6.6 million people under some form of physical custody, control, and surveillance. This massive bureaucracy favors punishment and profit over justice and safety,” said Alec Karakatsanis, founder and executive director of Civil Rights Corps. “People need housing, healthcare, clean water, food, and joy — not arrests and human caging. If we mean to take justice and safety seriously as a society, we must stop investing in the criminal punishment bureaucracy and start investing in the resources that help communities thrive.”
Vision for Justice 2020 and Beyond, a policy platform cosigned by more than 120 organizations, is centered on three core principles that should inform all efforts to achieve a new paradigm for public safety in America — one that respects the humanity, dignity, and rights of all people.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal and state policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit civilrights.org/edfund/.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.
Civil Rights Corps is a non-profit organization dedicated to challenging systemic injustice in the American legal system through innovative civil rights litigation. CRC works with individuals accused and convicted of crimes, their families and communities, people currently or formerly incarcerated, activists, organizers, judges, and government officials to challenge mass human caging and to create a legal system that promotes equality and human freedom.