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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Equal Justice USA Inc

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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

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I thank God for this organization, the one on one assistance given by Latrina has really helped to catapult the work that we have been doing for several years. When you have a team making sure that you are dotting all the I's as well as crossing all the T's and as well as yourself havin a since of compassion for what you do.Because of this organization our organization will be more than prepared to provide crime victims the service that they need and deserve to some how help them to discover their purpose and help them in becoming whole. If I was to rate them they would surely get an excellent across the board.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I work for a small non-profit that has been working toward the abolition of the death penalty in Nebraska. EJUSA has been a tremendous help in this work. They have provided advice and guidance based on their experience in other states. Their experienced and skilled staff and support services have made it possible to change history here in Nebraska. We are indebted beyond measure. Thank you, EJUSA! -- Stephen G.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't say enough positive things about Equal Justice USA! They have been essential in helping us achieve death penalty repeal in Connecticut. They recognized the potential in the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty (CNADP) when we were just a small group of volunteers, and offered to help us get to the next level and beyond. EJUSA showed us how to become more professional and how to target our legislative and public education efforts strategically towards our goal. They continue to support us on a regular basis. And they have never sought credit for this work, nor financial support from us. Thank you, EJUSA!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

EJUSA has worked with the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty in our work to repeal the death penalty in Kansas. Their contributions and assistance have been useful, significant and timely.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Doris Parlette. I am the volunteer director and board president of the Indiana Abolition Coalition. Equal Justice USA has provided essential technical and organizational advice and support to IAC for more than two years. We could not be more grateful to EJUSA.

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!

Stacy A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am both a supporter and a professional that receives assistance from the staff at EJUSA on a regular basis. The staffers are strategic, experienced and helpful on so many fronts. I don't think I could do my work nearly as effectively without their involvement and I am so glad they are working so hard in this field.