Although Out for Justice is not a direct service organization, we acknowledge that it often takes time for policy reform and legislation to manifest into tangible changes for returning citizens. Because of this, we provide our own programs and resources to ensure our members’ successful reintegration into society.
Keep reading to learn about these programs/resources.
“Prison is what I went through. It’s not who I am.”
In 2016, Out for Justice started our Anti-Stigma Campaign dedicated to getting rid of the unfair and negative stereotype regarding previously-incarcerated citizens. To spread awareness about this campaign, we created a series of PSA videos and hosted neighborhood events with our directly-impacted community members.
Click here to view the rest of the PSA videos
"Get Out the Vote"
After playing an integral role in passing legislation in 2015 that restored voting rights to 40,000 formerly incarcerated Marylanders, OFJ works to implement this legislation by bringing returning citizens to the polls during major elections.
During the 2018 Maryland General Election, OFJ lead our "Get Out the Vote" Campaign. We had a four-pronged approach:
Registering returning citizens at East Baltimore's probation and parole sites
Registering individuals with misdemeanor convictions, those on pre-trial, and those awaiting bail
Public awareness campaigns like our #FELONYVOTE Website
Poll parties to bring people out to the polls
Reentry Women's Initiative (RWI) Garden Project
The transition of female returning citizens post-incarceration is an often-overlooked area. Previously, there was a partial ban on food stamps for felony drug convictions, making it difficult for recently-released women to feed their families and children.
Our solution was the Reentry Women’s Initiative (RWI) Garden Project, which aimed to empower female returning citizens to engage in the legislative process and community-driven food programs in order to improve their situation post-incarceration.
We accomplished this by presenting a series of legislative food justice workshops and cultivating partnerships with community urban gardens, which eventually led to the creation of food grow & share programs for participants.
Legislative Advocacy Workshops
Out for Justice goes out in the community to educate the youth and the returning citizen community about their constitutional right to participate in the legislative process.
Our staff presents legislative advocacy workshops that include relevant legislation that applies to the target audience and mock legislative hearings to reveal how community members can advocate for reforms that will benefit them, their families, and their communities. To engage the youth, we use an interactive "Jeopardy-style" presentation to test their knowledge of the legislative system.
Interested in having us present one of these workshops?
A criminal record can decrease your chances at employment by 50%. This effect is even more pronounced for black men. Expungement is “is a court-ordered process in which the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is 'sealed,' or erased in the eyes of the law.” Expungement can generate a tangible and quick impact on citizens’ lives by allowing them to obtain new opportunities and employment.
In order to remove collateral consequences and barriers facing those with criminal records, OFJ facilitates expungement workshops and referrals to expungement services.
Interested in helping out?