Criminal Justice Reform and Reentry Organizations in Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. monuments

Are you interested in getting involved in criminal legal reform or reentry work? Explore other local and national organizations working in D.C.

Policy, Research, and Advocacy

The National Prison Project is dedicated to ensuring that our nation’s prisons, jails, and detention centers comply with the Constitution, domestic law, and human rights principles.

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The Brennan Center is an independent, nonpartisan law and policy organization that conducts research and advocacy efforts on issues of democracy and criminal justice.

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Catholic Mobilizing Network is a national organization that mobilizes Catholics and all people of goodwill to value life over death, to end the use of the death penalty, to transform the U.S. criminal justice system from punitive to restorative, and to build capacity in U.S. society to engage in restorative practices.

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The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center is a national, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that combines the power of a membership association, representing state officials in all three branches of government, with policy and research expertise to develop strategies that increase public safety and strengthen communities.

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Council for Court Excellence (CCE) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization that envisions a justice system in the District of Columbia that equitably serves its people. CCE identifies and proposes solutions by collaborating with diverse stakeholders to conduct research, advance policy, educate the public, and increase civic engagement.

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The Council on Criminal Justice works to advance understanding of the criminal justice policy choices facing the nation and build consensus for solutions that enhance safety and justice for all. CCJ is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization and think tank.

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DC Justice Lab is a team of law and policy experts researching, organizing, and advocating for large-scale changes to the District of Columbia’s criminal legal system.

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FAMM advocates for sentencing reform and works to create a more fair and effective justice system. At the state and federal level, FAMM support sentencing reform, prison reform, increased use of compassionate release, and increased use of executive clemency.

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Justice Action Network works with legislators and local organizations to promote criminal justice reform, in sentencing, expungement, occupational licensing, civil asset forfeiture, fines and fees, community supervision, and more.

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JPI is a think tank that seeks to inform advocates, policymakers and the media about fair and effective approaches to justice and community well-being

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The Sentencing Project works for sentencing reform, promotes alternatives to incarceration, and addresses unjust practices within the criminal justice system.  Through advocacy, research, and publication, it seeks to change “the way Americans think about crime and punishment.”

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The Vera Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the criminal justice system through research and projects across the country, working closely with government officials. Vera has offices in Washington, D.C., New York, New Orleans, and Los Angeles.

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Local Services and Reentry Organizations

Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop uses the literary arts, workforce development, and violence prevention to connect incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youths and adults to their voices, their purpose, and the wider community.

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This division of the Mayor’s office provides information and support to formerly incarcerated D.C. residents. Its outreach programs focus on employment, housing, health, and education.

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NAARC’s mission is to improve the quality of life of returning citizens, their families, and communities by addressing the broad range of social and economic needs through strategic management of public and private partnerships, political advocacy, community relations/organizing and economic empowerment.

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NHA is a community organization, headquartered in Northeast D.C.  Its founders, who were incarcerated for decades, wish to bring positive change to their communities. Some of their programs, such as “Safe Passages,” focus on improving the lives of children. By reaching out to youth, NHA’s members hope to help end generational cycles of incarceration.   

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This local group, comprised entirely of volunteers, aims to connect returning citizens to vital resources (housing, jobs, mental health programs, etc.). Through its efforts, the Reentry Network for Returning Citizens rebuilds relationships and communities.

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Negotiation Works provides negotiation and conflict resolution skills training for DC-area individuals who are rebuilding their lives and starting anew after incarceration, homelessness, abuse, and addiction.

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Rising for Justice is a leader in training social justice advocates and representing low-income clients in matters critical to their wellbeing. We make justice a reality for vulnerable D.C. residents by providing free, high-quality legal representation in tandem with social work services to promote long-lasting positive outcomes for our clients. 

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Voices for a Second Chance serves incarcerated D.C. residents and returning citizens, offering individualized outreach and community-based resources.

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Welcome Home Re-entry is part of Catholic Charities. Its coordinators match volunteer mentors with returned citizens to provide support and help throughout their transition. Welcome Home Re-entry operates in D.C. and Maryland.

Learn more about the Welcome Home program (new window)