The current COVID-19 outbreak has shed new light on issues of overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and a lack of safety in our nation's jails and prisons. As concerns over the safety of our incarcerated population grow, the men and women UnCommon Law serves continue to be left out of initiatives aimed at safely reducing the California prison population.
UnCommon Law brings people home. Our parole and policy advocacy work has helped hundreds of people achieve freedom from decades-long prison sentences, and many of the men and women we have served are now doing critical work to reduce cycles of violence, heal the communities they once harmed, and using their own transformations to help others change their lives. The data shows that Lifers and those incarcerated for violent crime are the least likely to recidivate back to prison, but Lifers continue to be left behind in conversations around meaningful reform and prison population reduction.
Those serving decades behind bars for crimes committed in their youth are uniquely at risk during the spread of COVID-19. The social and political lines drawn between people who have committed violent crimes and people who haven't perpetuates a false dichotomy: that people who have committed violent crimes are less human, less capable of change, and less deserving of health and safety than others. And now, as COVID-19 has the potential to turn a life sentence into a death sentence, this damaging narrative is more dangerous than ever.
It’s time to broaden the conversation about safe prison population reduction to include ALL incarcerated Californians - and it's time to rethink the negative narratives and stereotypes that allow Lifers to be left out of reforms in the first place.
Funding raised through this campaign will support UnCommon Law’s continued direct services (including expanding our scope to reach all people in need of parole preparation materials as the spread of COVID-19 continues to drastically affect access to programming and resources inside prison), as well as our ongoing advocacy and policy work geared towards getting Lifers included in meaningful justice reforms. Most importantly, funding raised through this campaign will enable us to continue our work bringing Lifers safely home from prison, returning leaders, activists, mentors, change makers, family members and friends to their communities and creating opportunities for healing in communities devastated by the effects of overincarceration.
If you believe that everyone deserves the chance to be healthy and home, we hope you'll join us.
DON'T MISS THESE HEALTHY AND HOME CAMPAIGN EVENTS!
"Counseling in Quarantine" (May 12th, 6:00 - 6:45 pm)
What is it like to provide counseling to incarcerated people during COVID-19? Join UnCommon Law's Director of Clinical Services Julie Hess, UnCommon Law Therapist Intern Ritika Aggarwal and and former client and current MSW graduate student James Cavitt as they discuss their work on The Peace Alliance's monthly call-in.
"Sending Solidarity" (May 21st, 3:00 - 9:00 pm)
Volunteer with UnCommon Law! With the help of our friends at Flikshop, we're thrilled to offer an afternoon and evening-long opportunity for community members to craft digital postcards carrying messages of love, hope and support for people inside prison.
...and be sure to check out UnCommon Law's work on SB1064; legislation to ensure due process protections for individuals appearing before the parole Board!