The Rosenberg Foundation believes that criminal justice reform is one of the most urgent civil rights issues of our day. Nowhere are the barriers to equal opportunity more visible than in our fractured criminal justice system, which perpetuates an ongoing cycle of crime and discrimination that undermines entire communities. Consider the following facts:
- In California, which has one of the nation’s highest recidivism rates, more than two-thirds of paroled inmates are back behind bars within three years.
- The U.S. accounts for five percent of the world’s population but accounts for 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.
Women are one of the fastest growing segments of the state’s prison and jail populations, and a vast majority is behind bars for nonviolent, nonserious offenses.
Through its Justice and Public Safety portfolio, the Foundation aims to catalyze strategies to strengthen human rights in California with a special focus on issues related to criminal justice and prison and jail reform. To further this goal, the Foundation uses a mix of grantmaking, communications, and direct activities aimed at promoting alternatives to incarceration; reducing recidivism through reentry, including employment opportunities for the formerly incarcerated; reducing the incarceration rates of women; and supporting new voices for victims’ rights.
The Foundation also has partnered with a number of other funders in this work to create a new funders’ affinity group focused on criminal justice reform: the Funders for Safety and Justice in California. FSJC includes the Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, Sierra Health Foundation, Fund for Nonviolence, the Women’s Foundation of California, Van Loben Sels/Rembe Rock Foundation, Akonadi Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and others.