In June, Bread & Roses awarded $44,500 to 12 local criminal justice reform organizations through the Phoebus Criminal Justice Intiative.
“With lots of money being apportioned in the wrong direction in this year’s state budget, we are proud to have made grants to organizations that are stopping the cycle and rehabilitating the formerly incarcerated,” says Shelley Smith, a member of the Phoebus committee.
This year’s Phoebus grantees are:
- Books Through Bars
- Hearts on a Wire Collective
- Human Rights Coalition
- Inside-Out Center at Temple University
- New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
- One Love Movement
- Pennsylvania Prison Society
- Reconstruction, Inc.
- Reunification Transportation Services
- Why Not Prosper, Inc.
- X-Offenders for Community Empowerment
- Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project
First-time grantee Why Not Prosper supports formerly incarcerated women with programs including pre-release mentoring, a live-in residential facility, and resource centers.
“I am grateful for such a place, which showed me I can make it. They showed me real love,” says Carolyn Smith, a Why Not Prosper client.
One Love Movement, another first-time grantee, mobilizes against the effects of a 2002 agreement between the U.S. and Cambodia allowing for the deportation of Cambodian Americans who have prior criminal convictions and do not hold U.S. citizenship.
Last year, Chally Dang was deported to Cambodia and separated from his wife and four young children for a crime he had been convicted of as a juvenile and had already served time for. He is barred from ever re-entering the U.S. One Love is working with the District Attorney’s office to revise sentencing policies and prevent this kind of injustice.
“As the links between the criminal justice system and immigration system grow stronger, it becomes harder to fight for immigrant rights without working for justice within the criminal justice system,” says New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia co-director Peter Pedemonti.
Innovative donor-advised funds like the Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiative support organizing around emerging issues such as the prison- immigration connection. Combined with Bread & Roses’ larger role supporting social change in the region, these criminal justice reform grants are helping to make real change happen.