Criminal Justice Reform Initiative

Housing nearly twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners, the United States incarcerates more individuals than any other nation. Undergirding this fact is the long-term history of structural racism that has disproportionately impacted people of color, low-income individuals and underserved communities in spatial concentrations of incarceration and poverty.

Emerging out of the efforts of the Forum for Community Solutions (FCS), the Aspen Institute Criminal Justice Reform Initiative seeks to accomplish five goals:

  • To help expand the donor base and investments in criminal justice initiatives particularly in regional and local jurisdictions where there is a dearth of funding;
  • To uplift promising practices across the criminal justice continuum that brings together activists, returning citizens and grass roots organizers, lawyers, judges, researchers, philanthropists and policymakers in a non-partisan context including the individuals and families most impacted by the justice system;
  • To convene thought leaders such as activists, returning citizens and grassroots organizers, lawyers, judges, researchers, and policymakers to discuss promising practices and to learn collectively from each other in order to advance the field;
  • To help shape narrative change around justice involved individuals—including the children and families of these individuals—by focusing on the intergenerational, lived experiences of those who are most impacted; and
  • To work with partners in establishing an Aspen Justice Network to amplify their work in order to bring about policy and systems changes aimed at reducing mass incarceration nationally and within state and local, place-based jurisdictions particularly in neighborhoods or zip codes where there are spatial concentrations of high rates of incarceration and poverty.