Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) is a multi-state organization that aims to replace over-incarceration with more effective public safety solutions rooted in crime prevention, community health, rehabilitation and support for crime victims. Focused on the largest states in the country, we partner with state leaders and advocates to achieve safety and justice reforms through advocacy, organizing, coalition building, research and communications.
Launched in 2016, ASJ is currently engaged in eight states (Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania and our flagship in California- Californians for Safety and Justice). We are justice data and policy experts, grassroots organizers, attorneys and campaigners – we combine research and smart policy proposals with lobbying, constituency building and alliances to win changes in state laws.
Californians for Safety and Justice (founded in 2012) has helped usher in nearly 30 reforms to reduce incarceration, expand support for crime victims, secure hundreds of millions of dollars for community safety, and reduce barriers to stability for people with past records. Examples include:
Proposition 47 (2014) a ballot initiative that changed six low-level felonies to misdemeanors and reinvested the prison savings into treatment and rehabilitation. Since voters passed the measure, an estimated 500 million has been reallocated from prisons to community safety.
Proposition 57 (2016)a ballot initiative that authorized parole consideration for people serving sentences for certain felonies, authorized earned credit toward release for rehabilitation and education, and prohibited prosecutors from automatically transferring juveniles into adult criminal court without judicial discretion.
Trauma Recovery for Crime Victims (2014 to the present): Several budget and legislative reforms to expand trauma recovery centers for underserved victims of crime throughout California to provide wraparound services for victims of violent crime to help these survivors regain stability, understand the justice process and address the impacts of trauma.
Bail Reform (2018): Two pieces of legislation that eliminated the for-profit money bail industry in California and replaced it with a system that presumes pretrial release for people with low-level charges and authorizes judicial discretion in determining release for many felonies and establishes pretrial supervision based on risk to public safety. Legislation also requires data collection to track race impacts and eliminates most fines and fees for low-level crimes.
Record Expungement Reform (2019): Two pieces of legislation that expand the number of people with past records that are eligible for automatic removal of certain old records.
Alongside Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, ACLU and others, our 501(c)4 co-led the successful Yes on Amendment 4 Second Chances ballot campaign, a historic measure restoring voting eligibility to 1.4 million Floridians living with convictions.
Justice Reform (2019): We championed and secured passage of HB 7125 a justice reform package that included: removing barriers for crime victims to access support from the victim compensation program, raising the felony threshold for theft from being one of the four lowest in the nation, reducing prison as the response to technical rule violations of probation, eliminating restrictions to occupational licenses for people living with a past conviction and more.
Trauma Recovery Centers (2017): The first trauma recovery center was established in 2017, becoming the third nation in the state to create such centers to support victims of violent crime.
Parole Reform (2018): Our collaborative advocacy led to passage of HB 5377, which establishes clear and objective criteria for parole decisions to reduce excessive lengths of stay for thousands of people in prison. The Michigan Department of Corrections estimates it will save the state $40 million and eliminate up to 2,400 prison beds.
Medical Parole (2019): Secured passage of legislation to overhaul the state’s medical parole process, allowing the state to release seriously ill and “medically frail” people in state prisons. It permits them to obtain care at medical facilities and nursing homes, instead of prison, saving the state millions of dollars on a more effective approach.
For the past 30 years Illinois prison populations have swelled—driven by increasingly long sentences, mandatory minimums, limited opportunities and incentives for rehabilitation during incarceration and numerous barriers to successful reentry. The result has been overcrowded prisons, soaring recidivism rates and tremendous fiscal and human costs.
With 48,278 people imprisoned at the end of 2014, the Illinois prison population has more than quadrupled since 1980.
Today, Illinois is in the midst of reexamining the policies that have led to over-incarceration and a significant shift in its approach to public safety. For the first time in decades, criminal justice practitioners, lawmakers, and the general public are rethinking sentencing laws, prison spending, and the best ways to address crime and violence.
Neighborhood Safety Act (2017) We championed SB 2872, The Neighborhood Safety Act, which expanded earned credit for people in prison, authorized probation instead of incarceration for low-level offenses, and launched trauma recovery services for crime victims.
Trauma Recovery and Rehabilitation (2019): We championed SB 262 and HB 62 which appropriated $55 million in the FY20 operating budget for increased trauma recovery and rehabilitation programming.
Expungement Reform:, We championed a key component of the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (HB 1438), which provided a pathway to expungement for an estimated 770,000 prior marijuana convictions.
Earned Credit for People in Prison: We supported changes to the 2018-2019 state budget that created opportunities for reducing prison sentences through earned credit.
Diversion for Low-Level Offenses: We championed SB 66, which increased judicial discretion in sentencing and expanded diversion and community-based alternatives.
Trauma Recovery Centers: We have been working since 2017 with the Attorney General to establish and grow trauma recovery centers that provide wraparound services for victims of violent crime, with a focus on those from underserved communities.
Drug Sentencing Reform: We have been working with a bipartisan group of legislative leaders in the state to advance drug sentencing reform that reclassifies low-level drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor to prioritize addiction treatment and reduce over-incarceration.
Texas has the largest state prison population in the U.S., with more than five times as many imprisoned 2016 than there were in 1980. Corrections spending increased 323 percent from 1986 to 2016, nearly three times the rate of growth in education spending over the same time period.
Victim Services Administrative Reform (2019): We worked with the Texas Attorney General to advance administrative improvements to reduce barriers to accessing victim compensation support.
Probation reform (2019) After advancing probation reform legislation in 2019 that stalled, we are partnering with state leaders to improve probation outcomes, incentivize rehabilitation and address the challenges that fines and fees pose for people to succeed on probation.