The Just Trust, an organization that works to scale, align, and deploy resources to criminal justice reform in the United States, today announced the launch of the Safer Communities Accelerator. The Accelerator nourishes a growing community of organizations that are advancing innovative models for preventing crime, repairing harm, increasing accountability, and building stronger, safer communities. It launches with a four-million-dollar commitment to eight organizations that are championing pre-arrest and pre-trial models—from deflection and diversion, to violence prevention programs, to restorative justice work—that get people the help they need while reducing reliance on policing and incarceration.
“If we’re going to transform our justice system, we have to start investing in a broader range of solutions that contribute to safety,” said Jolene Forman, Chief Program Officer at The Just Trust. “This means not only pursuing smart policies that reserve police resources for specific, serious interventions, but also investing in proven solutions that more appropriately address the full breadth of community safety needs. The Safer Communities Accelerator is focused on the latter.”
The Just Trust provides funding, strategy and communications support, and cohort-based programming to advance knowledge sharing within the Accelerator.
Initial cohort members include:
Atlanta Policing Alternatives & Diversion Initiatives (PAD)
The Atlanta Policing Alternatives Division (PAD) works to reduce the arrest and incarceration of people experiencing extreme poverty, problematic substance use, or mental health concerns through two core strategies: pre-arrest diversion and Community Response Services—mobile response teams that are dispatched through a partnership with the city’s 311 line.
Law Enforcement Action Partnership
The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) is a nonprofit of police, sheriffs, judges, prosecutors, and other law enforcement professionals advocating for a new way of looking at the justice system and drug policy, employing innovative solutions and evidence-based best practices to prioritize community health and safety at the national, state, and local level.
CAHOOTS/White Bird Clinic
CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) is a mobile crisis intervention program staffed by trained White Bird Clinic personnel in partnership with the City of Eugene and Springfield, Oregon. Cahoots intervenes in precarious mental or emotional health crises without, or in partnership with, law enforcement.
Community Based Public Safety Collective
The Community Based Public Safety Collective supports dozens of small, nonprofit, community-led, grassroots organizations helping forge peace in their neighborhoods. It is also a new training and technical assistance provider for the federal government, in recognition of its expertise as a partner to community organizations working at the heart of violence and trauma prevention.
Cure Violence Global
For the past 20 years, Cure Violence Global (CVG) has led an innovative movement grounded in epidemiology and community health to create greater public safety and reduce violence by treating violence as an epidemic.
Equal Justice USA
Equal Justice USA is a national organization that works to transform the justice system by building responses to violence that break cycles of trauma by centering community, healing, and racial equity.
Common Justice operates the first alternative-to-incarceration and victim-service program in the United States that focuses on violent felonies in the adult courts.
Impact Justice works nationally to promote healing and accountability through the use of restorative justice as an alternative to prosecution and punishment. Its work diverts youth and young adults arrested for serious offenses, especially youth of color, away from the legal system—to center the needs of survivors of harm, and to equip impacted communities to be leaders in the restorative justice process.
Six of these organizations have been asked to replicate (or advise on replicating) their approaches in other communities, and all have strong, proven track records where they operate.
“These models offer compelling roadmaps for how jurisdictions across the country can implement programs that work alongside—or sometimes in lieu of—police and courts,” added Neha Raval, Program Manager for The Just Trust’s Community Safety Solutions portfolio. “We can’t rely on law enforcement alone to address all of the issues our communities are struggling with—especially behavioral and mental health concerns.”
The Accelerator was launched with support from five expert field advisors:
- Rukia Lumumba, Executive Director, People’s Advocacy Institute
- Will Simpson, Director of Violence Reduction Initiatives, Equal Justice USA
- Moki Macias, Executive Director, Atlanta Policing Alternatives & Diversion Initiative
- Jac Charlier, Executive Director, Police Treatment and Community Collaborative; TASC’s Center for Health and Justice
- sujatha baliga, MacArthur Fellow
In 2023 the Accelerator will expand to include additional organizations, prioritizing those working in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and West Virginia in alignment with The Just Trust’s State by State campaign. For groups interested in learning more, please contact The Just Trust via its open call form.
About The Just Trust: Founded in 2021, The Just Trust is 100% dedicated to scaling, aligning, and deploying resources to criminal justice reform in the United States. It is made up of The Just Trust for Education, a 501(c)(3), and The Just Trust for Action, a 501(c)(4). Visit TheJustTrust.org for more information.