Celebrating Our Wins in 2015!

On December 1st, we had a party in New York to celebrate the Movement Wins of 2015.

2015 has been a year of much loss. The frightening escalation of racist and transphobic violence is traumatizing. But simultaneously, the movement to transform the criminal justice system is only getting stronger and stronger--from the moment of first contact with law enforcement, to the treatment of people while incarcerated, to formerly incarcerated people's access to rights and opportunities. 

Check out this list of wins we've had just this year! Imagine what we can do in 2016 when we continue to invest in this movement! 

Note: This list is not comprehensive. (We hope!) It's what we compiled with the help of grantees with the help of the article, "10 Ways that Black Lives Matter is already winning" by Cassandra Fairbanks. Since we first posted this list, we have heard about three new huge victories! We hope we see more before the end of the year, and we'll continue to update the list!

All of Us or None members with national coalition of activists marching at Washington DC Ban the Box rally. Image Credit: Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.

All of Us or None members with national coalition of activists marching at Washington DC Ban the Box rally. Image Credit: Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.

Banned the Box!

Obama banned the box on federal government job applications, removing automatic disqualification for employment due to a previous conviction. CJI Grantee All of Us or None originated this campaign.

End of Forced Sterilization of in California Women’s Prisons!

Long-term organizing effort to achieve this win was led by CJI Grantee Justice Now in a coalition of women’s organizations both inside and outside of prison!

Solitary Confinement Ended for Thousands!

Death Penalty Abolished in Nebraska!

Previous CJI Grantee Witness to Innocence, an organization of exonerated death row survivors and their families, spoke out and met with politicians to help achieve this win.

Expanding Parental Rights!

California expanded its Alternative Custody Program, allowing early release from prison to home confinement for parents of young children. CJI grantee California Coalition for Women Prisoners was part of the organizing that led to this victory.  

Dorsey Nunn, executive director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, speaks as California Secretary of State Alex Padilla looks on during a news conference at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. Padilla announced on Tuesday that he’s dropping the appeal of Scott v. Bowen, clearing the way for Californians who have been convicted of felonies to get the right to vote. (photo credit Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group for the Contra Costa Times) Found on LSPC website.

Dorsey Nunn, executive director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, speaks as California Secretary of State Alex Padilla looks on during a news conference at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. Padilla announced on Tuesday that he’s dropping the appeal of Scott v. Bowen, clearing the way for Californians who have been convicted of felonies to get the right to vote. (photo credit Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group for the Contra Costa Times) Found on LSPC website.

Voting Rights!

Reducing biased policing

Decriminalization of Immigration!

In May, Tuskegee became the first city in Alabama to enact an immigrant "TRUST Act" policy, joining over 250 cities nationwide in decoupling Immigration and Customs Enforcement and local police.

Image Credit: Afrikan Black Coalition.

Image Credit: Afrikan Black Coalition.

Divestment from Private Prisons!

The city of Portland, Oregon, Columbia University,the New York State United Teachers Union, the California Endowment, and the University of California joined CJI Grantee Enlace’s campaign to divest of holdings in private prisons!

Stopping Jail Construction!

This December, San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously against construction of a new jail. CJI Grantees California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Enlace, Justice Now, and TGI Justice Project worked in coalition with many others to achieve this victory. 

Education Opportunities Extended!

After a meeting with formerly incarcerated leaders including CJI Grantees with government officials, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice are starting a pilot program that will give eligible incarcerated students the opportunity to receive federal funding to obtain bachelor’s or professional degrees.

Anti-Shackling Measures

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the 2015 Anti-Shackling Bill banning shackling of people in labor and expanding on the 2009 ban. 

Community Oversight of Police Departments

  • Over 120 communities nationwide now have some form of civilian review board for police misconduct.
  • Cleveland Police announced in May they will have a civilian head the department’s internal affairs division.

Independent Investigation and Prosecution of Police

Image Credit: Nation Inside.

Image Credit: Nation Inside.

Telephone Justice!

The FCC has put a limit on the exorbitant cost of prison phone calls, ending a decade-long campaign by prisoners and their families and communities.

Limits on Use of Force by Police

In May, Cleveland agreed to limit use-of-force following days of protests in response to killings by police.

Body Cameras for Police

Police Training in De-Escalation

The Seattle Police Department and the State of Connecticut have began training officers in de-escalation.

Limiting Public Housing Discrimination!

The Federal Interagency Reentry Council announced they’d release a set of guidelines Public Housing Agencies regarding the re-entry of people with convictions into public and Section 8 Housing in response to a decade-long campaign led by multiple CJI Grantees in coalition with others; a tremendous gain for family reunification and a blow to state-sanctioned discrimination.

Ending For-Profit Policing

California, New Mexico and Montana passed laws requiring more proof before civil asset forfeiture (police seizing civilians’ personal property in raids).

Demilitarization of Police