“Our justice system has never lived up to its promise of safety, which is why we need to power, connect, and scale creative, community-driven solutions that actually do. That’s what the Accelerator is all about.”
– Neha Raval, Program Officer
The Safer Communities Accelerator - a project of The Just Trust - is a growing community of organizations that are advancing innovative models for preventing crime, repairing harm, increasing accountability, and building stronger, safer communities.
From deflection and diversion, to violence prevention programs, to restorative justice work, the Accelerator supports bold community safety solutions that actually meet the needs of real people, and where arrest and incarceration are not the default.
The Just Trust provides funding, strategy & communications support, and cohort-based programming to advance knowledge sharing. The program currently focuses on front-end, pre-arrest through pre-trial efforts.
“Criminal justice reform is not a magic wand for safety, but it MUST be part of a more proactive quilt of policies, programs and services that contributes to safer communities overall.” – Ana Zamora, Founder & CEO of The Just Trust
Our existing criminal justice system has never made the public safer. In fact, much of it makes us less safe – the way justice-involvement tears apart the social fabric that is essential to safety. It rips apart families, excessively punishes people (through both incarceration and criminal records), doesn’t help crime survivors heal, over burdens poor communities and communities of color, perpetuates violence, and contributes to generations of poverty.
Rethinking safety has to go hand in hand with rethinking the justice system itself. We can’t keep trying to solve SO much through punishment alone (over and over again) – criminalizing everything and everyone under the guise of safety.
It’s important to note this work is not about getting rid of all police and prisons. It’s about recognizing that they aren’t the only option. These institutions are tasked with way too much, and it just isn’t working. They shouldn’t have to do it alone. By mainstreaming different justice & safety solutions working both outside and alongside existing models – while simultaneously advancing policy to shrink the footprint of the system – we can get much closer to achieving its promise of safety. We can build something that helps rather than harms, and holds people accountable for their actions in far more humane ways.
At the end of the day, safety is not some abstract concept or messaging tool. And it’s not just the absence of crime. Safety is something we experience very personally…and safe, vibrant, thriving communities are the result of so many intersecting factors. Ensuring safety – in the most immediate term – also sometimes requires interventions, and that’s the piece we hope to help rethink.
To learn more about the work of each organization, please see our press release.
Thank you to these leaders for helping us to conceptualize and develop the Accelerator.
If you are doing front-end work that falls into one of these categories in your community, drop us a line via our open inquiry form.