Changing the Story About Violence

Our national story about violence has helped give rise to mass incarceration.  The United States incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world.  At the same time, there are grave inequities in our treatment of crime victims, who pay the price for prison’s failure to deliver on its promise of safety.  To talk responsibly about violence, it is essential to place the people who survive it at the center. This does not currently happen. Legislators have enacted draconian criminal justice laws in the names of survivors. Others have drawn on crime victims’ stories to motivate sympathy, horror, and outrage. But the one thing rarely done is to ask the full range of survivors what they want.

Common Justice is committed to telling the truth about violence—about the people who survive it, the people who cause it, and the strategies that will work to end it. We are sharing what we have learned in our decade of work addressing violence without prison. We are working with our partners to establish a new way forward. In doing so, we know no one can tell these stories better than the people whose lives are at stake, so we are working to create broad new platforms to elevate their voices and leadership from the block to the Capitol.