Human Rights & Reconciliation Race & Criminal Justice Reform

Taking Aim at Racial Injustice

United States | 2010 - 2014

One in three black men can expect to spend time in prison in their lifetime and Hispanic men are almost four times as likely to go to prison at some point in their lives as non-Hispanic white males. To help reduce racial bias in the criminal justice system, Atlantic invested $16.4 million over 5 years to collect data, do research and support organizations well-poised to capitalize on opportune moments to change hearts, minds and policies.

Watch: Grantee Communities United For Police Reform 's "Where I Am Going" campaign increased awareness of and changed the narrative around discriminatory Stop and Frisk practices in New York City.

What We Learned From This Work

  1. A lot can be accomplished in a short amount of time when you pool funding resources with other foundations. Pool funding offered a number of advantages in this work: ensured donor coordination, enhanced grantee cooperation and flexibility to rapidly target funds to timely opportunities.

  2. Harness the power of data by commissioning research, using findings to embed the case for reform in a logical argument, packaging data in multiple formats for a variety of uses, and timing the release to coincide with mobilizing events.

  3. A strategic communications component is necessary to ensure messaging and framing is aligned with campaign goals.

Scoring in Courts of Law and Public Opinion

Here's some of the ways our grantees have succeeded bringing fairness to the criminal justice system:

Legal Victory

A federal court ruled in a class action lawsuit that the New York City Police Department’s “Stop and Frisk” violated Fourth and 14th Amendment protections.

Advocacy Win

New York City enacted the Community Safety Act, which provides additional oversight of the Police Department and expands New Yorkers’ ability to sue over racial profiling by officers.

Success at the Polls

California voters approved the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, a sentencing reform ballot initiative designed to reduce incarceration levels and penalties for non-violent low-level crimes.

Summaries of Case Studies, Evaluations & Reports

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