Criminal Justice

Injustice & Inequity in the Justice System

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Our Work

We all lose when we lock people away. Incarceration denies the opportunities for rehabilitation and healing that are necessary for a person to fulfill his or her potential. This is a loss not only to the individual and his or her family but to society as a whole.


In this section

  1. Mass Incarceration

More on Criminal Justice

Update Education Can Restore Hope for Incarcerated Individuals 

Updated Oct. 29, 2019

The 1994 crime bill, formally known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, reframed the U.S. attitude towards criminal justice. Instead of compassion and rehabilitation, the focus shifted towards being “tough on crime.” Through numerous cuts and changes, the 1994 crime bill extended this “toughness” to the treatment of our incarcerated population. One target of the bill was education: After 1994, incarcerated individuals could no longer access Pell Grants.

Update Speaking of Education Reform, What Can Congress Learn from Orange is the New Black? 

Recently, I joined Illinois Rep Danny Davis to talk about lifting the Pell Grant ban and giving people more access to education. Congress has introduced a bill - the bipartisan REAL Act (H.R.2168 /S.1074) - which would restore access to Pell Grants. But it is not moving as fast as planned and needs some helpful pressure for final passage.

Event Restore Pell Grants for Incarcerated Students: Briefing with Rep. Danny Davis and Jose Woss 

Listen to the Recording

This fall Congress has a chance do do something life-changing: restore access to Pell Grans for incarcerated students. On September 10, 2019, FCNL hosted a special briefing with Rep. Danny Davis (IL-07) and José Woss, FCNL’s legislative manager for criminal justice.

Background Support For the REAL Act is Everywhere 

The REAL Act is a bipartisan bill that seeks to restore access to Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals. Ending this ban would help to unlock the potential of incarcerated individuals across the nation and help them to achieve personal and career success, while simultaneously lowering the societal costs of recidivism. Below are quotes of support from lawmakers, the secretary of education, and activists from across the political spectrum as well as individuals who benefited from Pell Grants while incarcerated.

Statement Our Federal Government Brings Back Capital Punishment 

On July 25, Attorney General William Barr announced that the federal government will start carrying out death sentences for the first time in nearly two decades by ordering the executions of five inmates. FCNL opposes this action and believes the death penalty should be abolished in all jurisdictions.

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