Justice That Works is a grassroots organization which seeks to end mass incarceration in Arizona. We reject the notion that police or prisons are necessary or that surveilling, violating, caging, or deporting people creates safety.
We believe that police and prisons are key components of the carceral state which solicits a perverse form of public investment into an immoral system, based on the false narrative that some human beings are disposable. We believe this system is organized to undermine safety, equity and dignity by injecting violence into marginalized communities, creating and perpetuating intergenerational poverty and trauma, and pulling money and resources away social investments that actually create safety—like education, healthcare, mental healthcare, public transportation, etc.
We are dedicated to ending it or shrinking it into non-existence.
Ending mass incarceration in Arizona requires the following:
Ending White Supremacy. Our police and prison system is a form of racialized social control that exists to cage, oppress, and erase communities of color. Shrinking this system out of existence requires being committed to racial justice and ending white supremacy.
- Changing Ideology. Our police and prison system is supported by the belief that surveillance and incarceration create safety and stability. Rather than create these things, however, surveillance, police and prisons undermine community safety and stability by shredding the social fabric, draining communities of wealth and political power and permanently disadvantaging large swaths of the population. The first step to ending this system is changing the narrative and implementing community solutions that shrink the system and do one of the following:
- Help individuals avoid jail, prison or detention. This may include: sentencing reform, eliminating cash bail, decriminalization, institutionalizing alternatives to incarceration, reducing or eliminating court fines/fees, reimagining the role of police and changing police practices, other community solutions, etc.
- Get people out of jail, prison, or detention.
- Keep individuals out of jail, prison or detention upon release. This may include: changing the laws/policies that permanently punish individuals or make it difficult for the formerly incarcerated to obtain housing and employment, changing parole rules to be more flexible, increasing reentry resources and implementing other unknown community solutions.
- Work in coalitions to reinstate the social safety net. Incarceration is currently used to disappear individuals who represent social problems such as poverty, joblessness, lack of access to mental health care, immigration, etc. To make ending mass incarceration possible, we must work with other organizations dedicated to solving these issues and increasing the size of the social safety net.
This is a long-term fight. It will take a lifetime or more. We are committed to this work for the long-haul. We hope you are too.
Values and Principles
The process for creating change is just as important as the changes we make. That's why Justice That Works is guided by the following values and principles:
We believe in people power. We believe we do more together than we do individually, and we believe that we don't need a single leader as long as we support each other and our collective leadership.
We believe in centering our work. People and communities most impacted by injustice hold the best answers and solutions to overhauling our current unjust legal system. This includes, but is not limited to, communities of color, people living in poverty, LGBTQ individuals, women, people with disabilities, currently and formerly incarcerated/detained individuals, immigrants, religious minorities, and those who otherwise struggle with barriers to inclusion and access to justice.
We believe that people most impacted by injustice should hold positions of leadership and decision-making. It is these individuals and communities who will truly transform our current unjust legal system into one that provides equal, humane, restorative and transformative justice for all.
- We believe in being responsive and accountable to the communities we serve.
- We believe that a new justice system is both necessary and possible.