Vision, Mission, Core Principles and Values

Our Vision

Where true justice is realized, both safety and opportunity are defined and created by communities themselves, becoming free of the heavy weight of the criminal legal system.

Our Mission

Our mission is to amplify and promote policies and practices to transform the justice ecosystem and reduce mass incarceration and its harms to individuals and society. We do this at local and national levels through convening stakeholders and supporting collaborations, strengthening leadership, promoting use of data, increasing public awareness and changing the narrative around justice in the United States.

Our Core Principles

Our values and work are rooted in three principles:

  1. To create justice, we must look beyond the ‘justice system’ to a justice ecosystem that also includes human and social systems, including health, education, workforce, housing and more.
  2. Community members and groups representing those most disproportionately impacted by the justice system must be a key part of any transformation process.
  3. We must focus on making change happen on the ground, in neighborhoods and regions where both practice and policy must combine to create just systems. These local developments then should influence and drive state and federal policy change.

Our Values

  1. Equity & Justice
  2. Systemic Transformation
  3. Humility
  4. Collaboration
  5. Pluralism
  6. Community Self-Determination

      Equity & Justice: There is no equity without justice, and no justice without equity. Equity is just and fair inclusion in a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. We believe that solutions are not successful, and not just, if they don’t produce greater equity for groups that have historically been excluded from opportunities. Transformation of the justice ecosystem must specifically address the racist historical and current policies that created the systems we now have.

      Systemic Transformation: Our work must be bold, holistic, and systemic, and address not just the justice system but the entire justice ecosystem to be successful. We must go beyond piecemeal reforms of the formal system to target transformative changes in structural racism and community well-being that reflect a deeper appreciation of the wider ecosystem that produces justice. Community-based approaches at the local level must be supported by the necessary requisite policies and practices at the state and federal levels.

      Humility: Our work must be done with humility and respect, and place foremost the humanity and dignity of those communities and individuals most impacted by an unfair justice system.

      Collaboration: Only through genuine, trust-based collaboration can significant community and systems challenges be addressed and resolved.  We seek to collaborate, not lead. We will facilitate power-sharing collaborations among traditional agencies of the criminal legal system, related public systems, and those most impacted by the heavy presence of criminal justice operations.

      Pluralism: To attain the change we seek, we will embrace a wide range of ideas and stakeholder groups. As we re-imagine together what safety and justice means, we must uplift voices on justice from throughout the community.

      Community Self-Determination: We must courageously create a just society that provides opportunity to all; to accomplish this we must shift balances of power to increase the influence of those who have traditionally been denied power. Transformation happens within communities which have the needed tools, support, and resources to address the injustices of their lived experiences. Our work is to support communities’ “collective efficacy,” or community ownership, and emphasizes the agency it takes for communities to move toward collective approaches.