A new toolkit for advocates working to end mass incarceration
In the toolkit, we share tips and lessons we’ve learned over two decades of using data, visuals, and narratives to expose the harms of mass incarceration.
by Mike Wessler, March 2, 2022
Today, we’re launching our new Advocacy Toolkit, a collection of guides and training materials that advocates can use to strengthen their campaigns to end mass incarceration. The toolkit builds on lessons we’ve learned from our two decades of work to improve our criminal legal system. It provides skills-based guides on accessing public records, securing and organizing data, crafting persuasive narratives, and creating impactful visuals. It also includes issue-based guides on protecting in-person visits in prisons and jails, opposing jail expansion, and ending prison gerrymandering. We plan to add additional resources in the future.
Our new advocacy department created this toolkit as part of our expanded effort to support the people and groups on the ground doing the hard work to end mass incarceration.
While most advocacy departments organize campaigns, mobilize volunteers, and pressure decision-makers for change, ours is a bit different. We’re not looking to replicate the amazing work that thousands of people and hundreds of organizations are already doing to reform the criminal legal system. Instead, as a research organization known for using data visualizations and easy-to-understand narratives, our advocacy work aims to help these organizations leverage our expertise to strengthen their campaigns. That’s why our advocacy department will focus on:
- connecting state and local movement partners and decision-makers to data that can fuel their campaigns for criminal justice reform;
- identifying and filling gaps where new research would support reform efforts;
- producing training materials, like the Advocacy Toolkit, for use by criminal justice reform advocates; and
- providing technical assistance, including identifying reform opportunities (such as our annual list of winnable state criminal justice reforms), giving messaging support, offering expert review of documents and legislation, and connecting partners working in similar spaces.
We hope these new resources will help to strengthen the movement to end mass incarceration. If you use the Toolkit in your work, tell us about it. Let us know what worked, what didn’t, and what other resources we can provide. And, if you’re an organization seeking assistance from our new advocacy department, drop us a line to let us know how we can help.