The Open Philanthropy Project made a $900,000 grant to JustLeadershipUSA to support its #CLOSErikers campaign. JustLeadershipUSA, a national advocacy organization formed in 2014 to advocate for reforms to reduce incarceration, with a focus on training and lifting up the voices and leadership of formerly incarcerated people as advocates, has proposed a major campaign to create public demand and secure political commitment to close the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City.
Criminal justice reform is one of the Open Philanthropy Project’s focus areas within U.S. Policy. We believe that this campaign is well-positioned to take advantage of a unique opportunity within criminal justice reform, with the potential to positively impact criminal justice reform nationally in addition to its direct benefits in New York City. Chloe Cockburn, our Program Officer for Criminal Justice Reform, believes that the campaign’s leadership team, as well as the specific opportunity that Rikers represents, make this a particularly promising campaign.