An organizer addresses a press conference from the steps of San Francisco City hall, concerning police use of killer robots

Photo: Jennifer Tu/AFSC

The California Healing Justice Program works to reduce reliance on incarceration and policing and replace them with restorative, healing practices. We concentrate on three areas: ending mass incarceration, demilitarizing police, and the promotion of healing alternatives.

In all that we do, we seek to amplify the voices of those most directly impacted by the carceral and police systems—low-income people, people with mental illness or substance use disorders, and all Black and Brown people.

Ending Mass Incarceration

The work to end mass incarceration reduces the prison population by developing durable sentencing reforms, decriminalization, abolition of money bail, and limiting the currently unlimited authority of the carceral system to detain and control people’s bodies. A prison abolition organization since 1978, AFSC works in coalition to reduce state and county budgets for prisons and jails and ultimately close them all. AFSC helps influence and monitor implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring California to reduce its prison population; proposes sentencing policy changes that will reduce the number of people in prison; and promotes evidence-based programming that reduces recidivism.

Demilitarizing Police

The core of our police demilitarization work is researching, educating and challenging militarization. Police enforcement is the entry point for people coming into the criminal justice system. The increased militarization of policing — through training for combat, weaponized equipment, and policies that justify the use of lethal force — locks law enforcement into practices that increase harm.

Alternatives to Prisons and Policing

While we work to reduce the prison population and limit police authority and militarization, we also promote healing and restorative practices as alternatives to violence and punishment. Through education and relationship building, we work so that a culture of healing is seen as a viable alternative to the current punishment/violence-based systems. We offer webinars, develop curricula, and advocate for community-based programs.

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