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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

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

Hilary C.

Donor

Rating: 5

I can't say enough about EJUSA!!! They were INSTRUMENTAL in helping us achieve abolition of the death penalty in Connecticut. They helped us make the impossible not only possible, but a reality! Hands-on training, expert knowledge of the legislative landscape and the issues involved, passionate and wonderful staff and volunteers helping us every step of the way.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am both a supporter and a happy beneficiary of EJUSA. They were an absolutely instrumental part of our campaign to abolish the death penalty in Connecticut. They did so much work for us behind the scenes, but their most valuable and important contribution was the outstanding professional work they did in empowering and training us to develop a winning strategy. They understand the unique situation each state (and each region of each state) has, and they are so skilled at helping you develop a plan that suits your needs, your resources, and your strengths. I have worked on many non-profit boards, been a staff member at many non- profits, and I have seen time and time again what doesn't work -- EJUSA is a great example of what DOES work: knowledge, passion, and vision, vision, vision! They are a rarity among non-profits -- not in it for the attention, not in it just to perpetuate their existence, but in it for RESULTS. EJUSA is the one non-profit that I will ALWAYS contribute to, as long they're around!

John120

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with EJUSA as a supporter since 2005 when it was a project of the Quixote Center in Washington, DC and supported the organisation when it became independent and moved to New York, NY a few years later. I have been involved with the anti-death penalty movement my whole life and was blessed to work in the same building as them and then to watch their progress unfold into a leader of the national campaign end the death penalty in two states and bring California (my home state) closer to ending the death penalty in 2012. Only EJUSA has the footing and development capacity to maintain the war footing necessary to end the California death penalty and the federal death penalty in particular.