Institute for Community Justice!
Welcome to the Institute for Community Justice! We are a Philadelphia-based initiative committed to community justice: the community-inspired, community-led solutions for healing in a time of mass imprisonment.
The Institute for Community Justice was founded as part of Philadelphia FIGHT’s commitment to reduce not only the number of people in prison living with HIV, but also the lasting effects of mass imprisonment on communities most affected.
What We Know
We know that two-thirds of people will be arrested within three years of their release from prison. This statistic has driven a national and local focus on reentry programs to address the barriers people face after imprisonment. What has been less emphasized is the one-third of people who are not rearrested after their release. Who are they? In our experience, they are community leaders who have set their hands to changing the systems they once found inescapable, and to rebuilding their communities so that the next generation might be able to imagine a future beyond mass imprisonment.
By centering the wisdom and experiences of formerly imprisoned community leaders, the Institute for Community Justice works to amplify existing efforts to build safe and vibrant communities, push for needed policy change, and realize our vision for community-led transformative justice.
Our work is organized around three core projects
1. TEACH Inside/TEACH Outside
The founding vision of TEACH Inside/TEACH Outside (TITO) is that we can change this. TITO is designed not only to reduce individuals’ risk of contracting HIV, but also to transform the structures that increase community-level vulnerability to HIV and imprisonment.
2. Support Center for Prison Advocacy
United around the slogan ‘Community Organizing is a Reentry Program,’ the Support Center for Prison Advocacy(SCPA) was founded to build the leadership of people who are formerly imprisoned and their families in organizing their own neighborhood communities. With Neighborhood Networks already underway in North, South and West Philadelphia, the SCPA aims to create a city-wide resource center without walls.
3. Prison Health News
Founded in 2001, Prison Health News is a quarterly newsletter written by and for people who have been in prison or are currently living behind the walls. Spanning topics on medical updates, health care advocacy and mutual support, Prison Health News works to build community across the prison walls that divide us.
Prison Health News is a project of Reaching Out: A Support Group with Action and the Institute for Community Justice. Each issue is produced by a Philadelphia-based collective of writers and editors, most of whom have been in prison and are living with HIV, and includes the work of imprisoned artists and writers. We also collaborate with the Philadelphia FIGHT AIDS Library to answer the many letters to us from people in prisons and jails asking for resources and health information.
- Our readers are living inside a system that denies them prevention tools and treatment information about HIV, hepatitis, and other health issues. They are dealing with medical neglect, daily humiliations driven by intense stigma, and the destruction of their communities by mass imprisonment.
- At our Reentry Organizing Center, formerly imprisoned city residents can connect with these projects, and work personally with the Institute mentoring team to promote their own self care, political engagement and mutual empowerment.
- Employment Resource Guide