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 Prisons Are Deeply Unprepared for COVID-19 

The COVID-19 pandemic has drilled into us a standard set of precautionary measures: Wash your hands, maintain distance from other people, and avoid groups. But there is a population within our society that is unable to take the precautions that we take for granted: incarcerated people.

Background For-Profit Corporations Have No Place in the Justice System 

In its 2019 session, the California State Legislature banned the state from entering into contracts with for-profit prisons, including for immigrant detention. As a Quaker organization, FCNL applauds this initiative. Private business interests have no place in the justice system. For-profit corporations exacerbate the horrific effects of detention felt by millions of people and families.

Update Our Hopes and Fears for the 2020 State of the Union 

Between the escalation with Iran and the impeachment hearings, Congress has been abuzz with activity so far this year—and advocates have been hard at work, too. The president’s State of the Union address, set for Feb. 4, will serve as an important point of reflection for FCNL and all those working to create change in Congress.

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.

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