Leadership In Action

We work with our alumni network to activate and mobilize for policy reform and community reinvestment strategies that help advance our efforts for a decarcerated United States.

Our past campaigns serve as models for local and state advocacy campaigns designed to reduce the correctional population in U.S. prisons and reinvest in communities. Currently, our #JustUS campaign exemplifies our commitment to elevating and empowering the leadership of directly-impacted people.


Addressing the Lack of Emergency Preparedness in the Criminal Legal System

Until the United States abolishes prisons, incarcerated people have the right to be safe in the event of man-made or natural disasters. We must mandate comprehensive solutions to protect their lives. No one deserves to die behind bars.


For the 70 million people living with a criminal record in the US, the penalties of a conviction last far beyond a sentence. The #WORKINGfuture campaign is committed to eliminating the devastating barriers to health, housing, and work — while restoring basic human dignity to all.


JusticeLA in partnership with other organizations working with directly impacted communities, was formed to reclaim, reimagine and reinvest what L.A. County could do with the $3.5 billion allocated to building two new jails.


The Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) is an irredeemable torture chamber. It was built to warehouse people alleged to have violated rules of probation or parole – infractions like missing an appointment or being late for curfew. The #CLOSEmsdf campaign was launched in June 2017 by people who have been directly harmed by MSDF. The campaign is led by a coalition of organizations, including: EXPO (Ex-incarcerated People Organizing), WISDOM, IWOC (Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee), & JustLeadershipUSA.


The #CLOSEthecreek campaign, led by directly impacted individuals, built on the groundswell of local support for decarceration that has been developed through decades of successful advocacy. The #CLOSEthecreek campaign demanded that Philadelphia’s elected officials:

  • Close the House of Correction for good within 2 years
  • Cut the local prison population in half to no more than 3,000 people
  • End electronic monitoring
  • Reinvest savings in locally-run, community-based services for returning community members


#FREEnewyork was a grassroots campaign launched in 2017 to achieve real solutions to New York’s statewide jail crisis.

The campaign built the power and leadership of New Yorkers most harmed by incarceration, and demanded bold legislative action and fundamental change to New York’s pretrial system.

Anchored by JustLeadershipUSA and led by people directly impacted by mass incarceration, grassroots groups and more than 150 organizations statewide, the #FREEnewyork campaign demanded groundbreaking overhaul of New York State’s bail, discovery and speedy trial laws. No one should be jailed because they cannot afford bail.

In April 2019, the campaign proved that change is possible, but winning three historic victories on issues of Bail, Discovery, and Speedy Trial.

#CloseRikers image


In 2016, JustLeadershipUSA launched the #CLOSErikers campaign, centering the leadership of people harmed by Rikers to demand the closure of the notorious jail complex which sits on a toxic landfill and is a site of cultural violence by jail guards.

In 2019, the New York City Council voted to close Rikers and replace it with four smaller jails. Our hard work has resulted in New York being the most decarcerated city in the country.

We remain committed to seeing not only the shuttering of Rikers forever, but the building of our communities for the long term. JLUSA will be leading community needs assessment and gap analysis for each borough, where a new borough-based facility will be located, in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.