The California Criminal Justice Funders Group (CCJFG) is an established network of funders and donors that invest in a wide range of system change. We firmly believe that efforts to transform this country’s response to safety, justice, and accountability must be led by those individuals who have been directly impacted by systems of punishment themselves. Therefore, CCJFG facilitates opportunities for our members to learn directly from grassroots movements to end policing, prisons, and criminalization and develop principles and practices that align with these movements.
We envision a world rooted in racial, economic, and gender justice where communities have access to the resources they need for health, safety, and self-determination without relying on criminalization or punishment. CCJFG believes in and supports abolitionist strategies that divest from carceral systems and build what Ruth Wilson Gilmore refers to as “life-affirming institutions” that are based in the community and not appended to the criminal legal system. We envision a funder community that acts in solidarity with these strategies and redistributes resources for a more just, equitable and humane world.
In light of recent developments, we echo Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) in urging Governor Newsom to reconsider his plans for San Quentin State Prison. We believe it is essential for the Governor to pivot away from his current path and instead align his strategies with the needs articulated by communities and the goals of the abolitionist movement. This includes reversing the direction of the proposed "California Model" and adopting a more comprehensive plan for prison closure that prioritizes investment in marginalized communities and the areas of the state affected by these closures. As funders, we emphasize the need for a plan that diverts millions of dollars away from the carceral system and instead, directs these funds to community organizations throughout the state that do the critical work of supporting communities in accessing sustainable housing, workforce development, healing, and other treatment options.
In alignment with our movement partners, CCJFG seeks to undo the detrimental impact that policing, surveillance, and suppression has had on the lives of generations of historically disenfranchised people. CCJFG urges the philanthropic community to be vigilant and wary of the growing façade of system “transformation” that is, in reality, a deeper investment in and an extension of a system that will ultimately devour countless more lives of Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. We are facing a pivotal moment in our country’s history and the spotlight is on the state of California. As philanthropic leaders of this state, will we continue to legitimize and expand the carceral system or will we work to build new life-affirming community-based institutions? For CCJFG, the answer is clear. We ask you to stand with us and our movement partners to actualize a collective vision that will result in safe and thriving communities.
CCJFG Steering Committee members: