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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights

Mission: Equal Justice USA works to transform the justice system from one that harms to one that heals. Our work includes ending the death penalty, strengthening programs that help crime survivors address trauma and rebuild their lives, and promoting trauma-informed responses to violence that can save lives and help heal communities.

Results: We are best known for 20 years of advocacy on the death penalty, during which we ended the death penalty in six states together with our state partners, organizing around some of the most egregious acts of violence addressed by our justice system. That work exposed us to the extensive trauma experienced across the system and shaped our analysis about the futility of asking a traumatizing justice system to carry out such essential functions as healing and community safety in the aftermath of violence. We worked with survivors who taught us about the unique trauma of losing a loved one to homicide, the extreme lack of services, and the ways that the justice system failed them. We worked with former wardens who carried out executions and taught us about the secondary trauma to corrections officers who are asked to do impossible jobs under the harshest conditions. Most importantly, capital cases uniquely must include a full life history of the defendant, so people on death row provide incredible case studies of the background of those who commit the most heinous crimes. Unsurprisingly, so many of them have a mountain of unimaginable, unaddressed trauma in their pasts.

Geographic areas served: National

Programs: We run three programs: (1) a campaign to end the death penalty, for which we are best known (2) a project to bring racial equity to victim services by helping groups that support crime survivors in communities of color to gain access to new resources and expand their reach, and (3) a Trauma Advocacy Initiative, which promotes a transformed vision for a justice system that is both trauma-responsive and restorative through local collaborative work with public health and criminal justice systems as well as national communications on a public health approach to the justice system.

Community Stories

8 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EJUSA is a phenomenal nonprofit. They've expanded outward from death penalty work. Really like their new emphasis on fixing a broken penal system.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an associate board member at Equal Justice USA. Equal Justice USA is an excellent organization that has produced and continues to produce effective results in the area of criminal justice reform. The organization's leadership is dedicated and passionate towards their goal of ending the death penalty, and it has been a great experience working alongside them.

2 AGThornton

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EJUSA's staff is small but you wouldn't know it from their results. Few nonprofits can show the clear, specific impact that EJUSA does, and I remain impressed with how enthusiastic and dedicated its members remain, even in the face of long hours and tough work. As they make more and more progress, they take on new challenges rather than declaring victory and moving on, and I'm confident that their successes will continue to grow along with their aspirations.

1 Christopher E.

Donor

Rating: 5

Here's the thing, there are a lot of organizations that have a higher profile in the justice reform and anti-death penalty community, but there's one org that all those with higher profiles turn to get things done.

And that is EJUSA.

There the most influential organization you've never heard of. They have been apart of the national conversation on ending the death penalty for over 25 years, with actual state-level wins that have instigated the progression toward a complete nationwide end to the unconscionable practice. Now they are at the forefront a strategy for tackling community justice reform, beginning with strong advocacy for victims and bringing them together into restorative justice reforms. EJUSA is seeing a national movement toward ending the cycle of violence and they will lead that conversation, that organizing on the ground, in the same way they have done for the death penalty.

If you want to give to an organization that does so much with their dollars, EJUSA is your place.

Previous Stories
5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What impresses me most about EJUSA is how cutting edge their view of healing our broken justice system is. Moving from anti-death penalty advocacy, they are one of the first organizations to turn me on to the growing and important restorative justice movement. Their big picture view and their cunning strategic sense leaves me confident that EJUSA will continue to be at the forefront of leading the US toward a justice system that works for everyone.

3 Nicholas13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so impressed by EJUSA's work. Their vision of a justice system that works for everyone is both powerful, well expressed and transformative. Their accomplishment so far have been world-changing and their positive impact on the US justice system will continue to grow.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EJUSA does fantastic work to make the justice system truly work for all members of our society. Everyone on the staff is passionate about the work and unendingly dedicated. This is truly an amazing organization.

AndreaHMaryland

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of first working with the staff of EJUSA during the Maryland death penalty repeal campaign. I found them to be extraordinarily knowledgeable, hard-working, thorough, and just all-around fantastic people. They worked behind the scenes and were pivotal in the victory, but never took it as an opportunity to take credit away from others who worked very hard as well. I've been lucky to cross paths with them again on other projects and events and hope to continue to do so in the future. I cannot say enough good things about this organization!

Abigail F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for Equal Justice USA several years ago but still recall my extremely positive experience with the organization. My time with EJUSA ultimately helped to prepare me for a future full-time role at a renowned non-profit org and I truly credit my volunteer experience at EJUSA for helping me to land the job. EJUSA is extremely well run and truly grassroots. I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in volunteering and/or working for the organization in any capacity!