Common Justice develops and advances solutions to violence that transform the lives of those harmed and foster racial equity without relying on incarceration. Locally, we operate the first alternative-to-incarceration and victim service program in the United States that focuses on violent felonies in the adult courts. Nationally, we leverage the lessons from our direct service to transform the justice system through partnerships, advocacy, and elevating the experience and power of those most impacted. Rigorous and hopeful, we build practical strategies to hold people accountable for harm, break cycles of violence, and secure safety, healing and justice for survivors and their communities.
The Case for Diversion / Race and Justice in America
Danielle Sered, Director of Common Justice, with Scott Stossel, The Atlantic
Black Wounds Matter
The New Yorker explores crime survivors’ stake in justice reform
Black Men Who Are Crime Victims Have Few Places To Turn
NPR interview with Common Justice and its partners
It Doesn't Have to Be This Way
Vera @ Chicago Ideas - Part II
The Vera Institute of Justice teamed up with Chicago Ideas to reenvision the American prison system, and imagine a society in which prisons serve as rehabilitation facilities for communities and citizens, rather than as crippling institutions. The conversation combined performance, first-person testimony, and compelling dialogue that all looked int...
Accounting for Violence
How to Increase Safety and Break Our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration
In the United States, violence and mass incarceration are deeply entwined, though evidence shows that both can decrease at the same time. A new vision is needed to meaningfully address violence and reduce the use of incarceration—and to promote healing among crime survivors and improve public safety. This report describes four principles to guide p...
What We Lost
Grieving the Passing of District Attorney Ken Thompson
As we start to imagine moving forward in a Brooklyn and world without Ken Thompson in it, I think of the young people who were offered the chance to participate in Common Justice on his watch, and who may live long, free lives now, and of the crime survivors who had the opportunity to have their needs truly met because of his clarity of purpose in ...
Expanding the Reach of Victim Services
Maximizing the Potential of VOCA Funding for Underserved Survivors
In 2015, the federal budget for Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds increased by $1.6 million—from $745 million to $2.361 billion. These funds represent the single largest source of funding for victim services in the United States. In this report, we outline a way forward to make the best possible use of these new funds, with the particular goal of f...
A national learning collaborative for people working with young men of color who have been harmed by violence and trauma.
Toward a Framework for Serving All Survivors of Crime
Our media, our culture, and even some of our statutes continually reinforce the idea that in order to be deserving of care, a victim of crime has to be “innocent.” However, this idea excludes a wide range of people from services and limits the options and resources available to those who survive serious harm. In this series from Vera’s Current Thin...
Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm
Addressing Disparities in Our Response to Violence
Attention is increasingly being paid to the disparities young men of color face in our society, including their disproportionate involvement in the criminal justice system as those responsible for crime. Little recognition, however, is given to the fact that young men of color are also disproportionately victims of crime and violence. Vera convene...
Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm
Addressing Disparities in Our Responses to Violence
Despite growing recognition of the disproportionate rates of young men of color caught up in the criminal justice system, little recognition is given to the fact that young men of color are also more likely to be the victims of crime and violence. This issue brief details the lack of support available to young men of color who experience trauma, as...
Unlikely allies collaborate for fairer restitution practices
In 2013, a group of victims’ advocates and advocates from alternative to incarceration (ATI) and reentry programs began meeting together to see what would happen if we listened to each other more. Nearly two years later, the group has become the Coalition of ATI/Reentry and Victims’ Advocates (CAVA), and is defining how unlikely partnerships can ad...
Beyond Offender and Victim
Toward a Humane, Event-Centered Language for Talking about People Involved in Crime and Violence
Beyond Offender and Victim explains rationale behind the Vera demonstration project Common Justice’s use of “harmed party” and “responsible party” to describe the person who survives harm and the person who causes harm, respectively.