The Tow Foundation’s Justice Initiatives portfolio seeks to promote a more equitable, fair and safe justice system in Connecticut, New York and nationally, with the ultimate goal of ending mass criminalization.
We strive to reduce the size of the youth and criminal justice systems by supporting effective advocacy and reform of policy and practice. We seek to increase opportunities for and eliminate barriers to a successful future for people impacted by the justice system. Our work is informed by their voices and leadership, and promotes racial equity, human dignity, restorative justice and public health.
We advocate the elimination of extreme sentences and unjust conditions of confinement. We invest in bold leaders and initiatives that help people with justice involvement successfully transition back into society. The organizations we support provide currently and formerly incarcerated people access to leadership development, education, healthcare, employment, housing and the arts.
Diversion – We believe in effective diversion strategies that prevent youth and adults from arrest, court involvement, detention and incarceration. In order to reduce the size of the justice system, we support alternatives to incarceration, restorative justice practices, legal services and public policy reforms related to bail and sentencing. We invest in coalitions and networks that work toward these system reforms.
In Prison – We believe that people who are incarcerated should be treated with dignity and offered opportunities that encourage rehabilitation. We seek to improve conditions of confinement by supporting efforts to eliminate the use of solitary confinement and similar punitive practices and to remove youth from adult jails and prisons. We promote improved family relationships and exposure to the arts and higher education for incarcerated people.
Post-Prison – We believe that people transitioning out of jail and prison deserve the opportunity to have a successful future. We support efforts to eliminate barriers and increase access to legal services, housing, healthcare, family reengagement, employment and education. We promote directly affected people as leaders in the reform movement.
Public Influence – We believe that to end mass criminalization, policymakers and the public must be educated on the failings of our country’s criminal justice system and potential solutions. We are committed to exposing unjust practices, highlighting opportunities for positive reform and elevating the voices of people directly impacted by the system. We do this by convening and connecting public and private partners, training journalists, investing in data collection and research, and supporting learning collaboratives and educational conferences.
To assess if your organization fits our funding criteria, please refer to our Who We Fund page.
For information about our Justice Initiatives and to determine if you should consider submitting a letter of inquiry, please contact:Diane Sierpina