The Safe Return Project is an organization of formerly incarcerated individuals and their allies working to strengthen the relationship of people coming home from incarceration with the broader community. We emphasize self-sufficiency and long-term liberty.
We understand that breaking the cycle of incarceration and crime will take positive leadership by formerly incarcerated residents contributing to the greater community. For over six years we have carried out critical participatory action research, community organizing, and policy advocacy to build community power and foster healing.
The work of Safe Return and our communities has shifted the dominant narrative about who is disproportionately impacted by criminalization, and also about who is returning back to our communities. Our primary goal is to put the people closest to the pain of inequity at the center of the movement for First Chances.
We have campaigned and won $5.2 million toward employment and services for formerly incarcerated residents under AB109; interviewed more than 2,000 residents about their perspectives on how Richmond can become safer and healthier; surveyed 104 returning citizens on parole and probation on their needs and concerns upon returning home to this community from incarceration; worked with the City of Richmond to develop and adopt a ‘Ban the Box’ policy, removing the question about whether you have ever been convicted of a felony from the city’s job & housing applications; and been featured in articles in the SF Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal, the Contra Costa Times, Richmond Confidential, and in various TV news segments.
Solutions we are currently working on include:
- A leadership Institute to train more formerly incarcerated men, women, and youth in community organizing for what is equitable
- The successful implementation of Proposition 47
- Black Lives Matter work to dismantle the school to prison pipeline
- The removal of current barriers to affordable housing and creation of new housing policies
- Job creation, training, and removal of employment barriers
- Restoring Voter rights of those disenfranchised by criminalization
- Expanding organizing efforts into East Contra Costa County, Pittsburg and Antioch
- Eliminating racial inequity in the criminal justice system
- Building Healthier more equitable communities
- Increasing quality reentry services