Our justice system is broken. But together, we can fix it.
From start to finish, our criminal justice system is profoundly unfair to poor and working people, people of color, women, and immigrants; wasteful; opaque; and needlessly diverted from attacking real wrongdoing. We overpolice and criminalize black and Latino communities while devoting too few resources to investigating sexual assault, solving murders, and fighting wage theft; we excessively charge for minor offenses, and fail to consider the collateral consequences for immigrant New Yorkers; we needlessly rely on cash bail that ordinary people can’t pay; we haven’t remotely realized our capacity for cost-effective alternative forms of accountability and rehabilitation; we make it nearly impossible for people to fairly and expeditiously get their proverbial “day in court”; we brutalize inmates and correctional officers alike in our jails and fail to prepare offenders for reentry into society; and we place too many obstacles in the way of the wrongfully convicted to demonstrate their innocence.
Simply put, no one should be run through the criminal justice system for committing a low-level, nonviolent, quality-of-life offense; or for jumping a subway turnstile; or for possessing a small amount of marijuana. No one should be deported for an offense that could have been reasonably charged a different way. No one should be sitting on Rikers Island because they can’t make $500 of bail to buy their freedom. No one with a mental health or substance abuse problem should face the criminal justice system as if they didn’t. No one should be worn down or gamed into pleading to a charge they aren’t guilty of because they have to make a rushed decision without even the most basic information on their case, or because they can’t miss any more work to attend court appearance after court appearance waiting for trial. No one should suffer violence in the custody of the government, or upon release face impossible obstacles to employment, education, and housing, or live with the constant threat of almost arbitrary re-imprisonment for even the most minor transgressions.
All of these bad choices divert us from making better ones that would keep us safer, use our tax money more wisely, and simply be more just.
Our mission is to reform policing, detention, prosecution, incarceration, and reentry policies for a fairer, smarter, safer New York City.