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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights

Mission: Equal Justice USA (EJUSA) is a national organization working to transform the justice system to one that heals and restores lives. 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. The common thread of trauma among all of these actors – those inside the system and those impacted by it on both sides – presented a roadmap for future solutions in the justice system. In 2008 we began the process of expanding our vision and programs to make those solutions a reality.

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

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

jalden

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked as the policy director of a state policy non profit and worked closely with EJUSA on a large project. They helped our efforts in our state for death penalty repeal and criminal justice reform immensely. Their expertise and strategic advice helped us to be very successful in our efforts. They are reliable, knowledgeable, competent, friendly, and truly care deeply about the work they do. They were an invaluable partner to us and the key to helping our state coalition work toward the abolition of the death penalty.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This was my first time engaging this organization. As a community activist in Jacksonville, Florida I found them to be through, thoughtful, consistent, informative, factual, and professional. My work with Mrs. Christine Henderson was beyond our organization expectations. She appeared untiring, unrelenting about truth, and determined to seek and get professional results for EJUSA and those she worked with. A+

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EJUSA has provided game-changing leadership for the movement to end the death penalty. They are true visionaries, as well as amazing partners and collaborators. I rely heavily on their insight, wisdom and experience and their deep connections to a wide network of constituencies, especially conservatives, communities of color, and Evangelicals. Every conversation I have with an EJUSA staffer leaves me enriched, inspired and forever grateful.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EJUSA is an amazing, professional organization that is effecting substantive change in our country. The organization's emphasis on building diverse coalitions and engaging unlikely allies makes them a model for all advocacy organizations.

3 Effie C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EJUSA has the energy, the expertise, the experience and the knowledge to help our country end the death penalty. Working for repeal in Nebraska, I was amazed by their commitment and their willingness to help our state on every level. EJUSA was with us all the way, encouraging us and contributing great ideas to the Nebraska organization's own hard work and strong commitment. They never gave in to discouragement, but always moved forward with a positive attitude to the next step. They're a personable and friendly bunch as well.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EJUSA continues to be the most responsive, strategic, and effective national criminal justice reform group I know. Whatever our needs, they are always there to fulfill them. Their advocacy for a justice system that addresses the needs of everyone impacted by crime is incredibly important, and very timely for our state. I look forward to our continued partnership.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Equal Justice USA plays a pivotal role in supporting the work of groups in the Death Penalty Moratorium and Abolition movement. Through candid guidance, dedicated energy, and enthusiastic commitment, members of the Equal Justice team make it possible for Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty to advocate for an end to our state's costly, arbitrary and bloated capital punishment bureaucracy. Stemming the tide of executions demands no less. Equal Justice USA stands at the ready and we are thankful for it.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EJUSA has been tremendously helpful throughout Nebraska's winning campaign to repeal the death penalty. While NADP had the enthusiasm to get it done, we didn't necesarily have all the resources. As a brand new organizer, the tools, materials and expertise from EJUSA helped me delve into outreach to critical conservative groups and leaders.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Working with Equal Justice USA has been an absolute pleasure. I was new to the field of organizing and campaign strategizing, but EJUSA took me under their wing and guided all of my efforts. I grew both professionally and personally because of their direction. Any time I had a question or needed guidance, the staff at EJUSA was available and willing to point me in the right path. I've learned so much from them that I can take with me at my next job and beyond.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first came into contact with Equal Justice USA when I was working with Troy Davis's family to write their book and tell their story. (Troy was executed in Georgia in 2011 despite a strong case of innocence.) Over the last two years, I have partnered very closely with EJUSA on multiple aspects of promoting the book and its message, and on multiple aspects of death penalty education and repeal. EJUSA has been, without exception, trustworthy, effective, professional, and, frankly--inspiring. This is true of every staff member that I have worked with, individually. And it is true of my experience with the organization as a whole. EJUSA is comprised of great people doing amazing work. I really can't speak highly enough of them.