JustLeadershipUSA, Center for Employment Opportunities, and Jobs for the Future Collaborate on Bold, Visionary New Report

March 21, 2023

Today marks the release of the report Building the Table: Advancing a Sustained Federal Commitment to Ensure Economic Justice for Systems-Impacted Individuals, calling for a $10 billion investment to fully fund reentry and workforce development and more


NEW YORK — Today, JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), and Jobs for the Future (JFF) released a new report, Building the Table: Advancing a Sustained Federal Commitment to Ensure Economic Justice for Systems-Impacted Individuals, which calls for a bold $10 billion investment in workforce development, among other major demands.

The full report can be read here.

For starters, the report calls on the White House, Congress, and Federal Agencies to allocate $10 billion in new resources in order to comprehensively and sustainably fund reentry and workforce development initiatives for systems-impacted individuals who face acute structural barriers to employment. This allocation represents a serious commitment by the federal government to begin to repair the economic harms to individuals, families, and communities impacted by the justice system.

“For too long people harmed by mass incarceration and correctional control have been furthest from resources and power to advance change,” said DeAnna Hoskins, President and CEO of JLUSA. “Today we are building a movement where people impacted by the criminal legal system hold power and agency to chart progress on their own terms. This is the work of the JustUS Coordinating Council (JCC), an inaugural policy and advocacy coalition composed of directly impacted leaders across the nation. This table will be officially launched next month during Second Chance Month.

“The first order of business for the JCC is to bring forth a new national vision, which includes a call for an economic Bill of Rights for systems-impacted individuals. And the first of our demands is simple and bold. We are asking our federal government to invest in us — people who have been impacted by the criminal legal system — by allocating $10 billion in new resources for critical workforce, employment, and other supports that are necessary to thrive.”

Additionally, the report calls on the federal government with congressional and allied partners to:

  • Make open and easily accessible all allied social safety resources for people who are systems-impacted, including but not limited to cash and nutrition assistance, housing, and health care.
  • Leverage the full procurement power of the federal government.
  • Utilize a whole-of-government approach and the full power of the federal government to address the employment, labor, and economic justice interests and rights of justice-impacted citizens.
  • Serve as a model employer.

This report was made possible through the support of the Justice and Mobility Fund, which is a collaboration between Ford Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, and Blue Meridian Partners.

“The Justice and Mobility Fund strongly supports JustLeadershipUSA’s important work to advance justice and economic opportunity for systems-impacted people,” said Le’Ann Duran, Senior Director at Blue Meridian Partners. “As a national criminal justice nonprofit that is both founded by and led by justice-impacted people, JLUSA is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in this critical movement.”

“As the nation’s largest transitional employment partner for people leaving incarceration, CEO relies on the feedback and expertise of individuals we serve to improve our programs,” said Sam Schaeffer, President and CEO of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). “We believe that directly impacted leaders will be the most effective in achieving systems-wide reform to the laws, regulations, and discriminatory institutions that exacerbate reentry challenges and fuel mass incarceration. There is no better group to lead these short- and long-term efforts than the amazing group of directly impacted leaders on the JustUS Coordinating Council (JCC). Their expertise is essential to ensuring successful implementation of existing and new federal investments and policy change.”

“In Building the Table, JustLeadershipUSA issues a call for policymakers to invest in economic justice for people who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system with the same intention and intensity as we invested in mass incarceration and collateral consequences,” said Lucretia Murphy, Vice President of Jobs for the Future and director of the Center for Justice and Economic Advancement. “Mass incarceration exacts a high cost for individuals, especially people of color, but we have significantly underinvested in reentry success. This report makes the case for comprehensive policy action that includes significant funding increase, and to ensure that people who are directly impacted are ‘at the table’ designing and guiding the solutions for a more just and equitable society.”

JLUSA, CEO, and JFF encourage White House officials, federal agency staffers, and other stakeholders to read the report and take the recommendations of the JCC into consideration when allocating resources. Download the report: justuscc.org/reports

The JustUS Coordinating Council will officially be launched on Saturday, April 29 with an inaugural gathering on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., followed by a “Freedom Ball” in the evening. More details will be announced. Please go to justuscc.org for updates.


JustLeadershipUSA is the national nonprofit building a national movement to decarcerate the United States. The organization—founded by and led by people directly impacted by the criminal legal system—is dedicated to amplifying the power of people who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system to self-organize and empower their communities to dismantle racist and oppressive systems in their communities to build a just U.S. Learn more at jlusa.org.

About CEO
The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) provides immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services exclusively for those recently released from incarceration. CEO currently operates in 31 cities and is dedicated to ensuring that justice-impacted job seekers have opportunities to achieve social and economic mobility. For more information, please visit ceoworks.org.

About JFF
JFF is a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems. For more than 35 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalable solutions that create access to economic advancement for all. Join us as we build a future that works. jff.org

About the Justice and Mobility Fund
The Justice and Mobility Fund is a collaboration launched by The Ford Foundation and Blue Meridian Partners with support from Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. Leveraging Blue Meridian’s pooled funding and performance-based investing model and the Ford Foundation’s expertise in social justice grantmaking, the Justice and Mobility Fund presents the opportunity to make investments that can change the lives of generations. bluemeridian.org/funds/the-justice-and-mobility-fund/

Stephen Knight

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