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Second Chance Summit: San Francisco with Dave's Killer Bread Foundation

Posted by · October 22, 2016 1:33 PM

"Hope for the Holidays" Days of Action for #ClemencyNOW

Posted by · October 22, 2016 1:28 PM · 2 reactions

#ClemencyNOW: Hope for the Holidays


Our #ClemencyNOW campaign will bring clemency recipients and impacted families to DC on November 14-15, 2016 for two days of advocacy and solidarity. 

Monday, November 14 -  6:00 - 7:30 P.M.

White House Candlelight Vigil

Who: Van Jones, Co-founder of #cut50, Brittany Byrd, #ClemencyNOW Campaign Director, Families with loved ones awaiting Clemency, Clemency recipients and other leaders

When: November 14th, 6:00pm-7:30pm

Where: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500

Tweet this to support



Tuesday, November 15 - 11:00 A.M.

Press Conference and Delivery of Clemency Petitions


Who: Van Jones, Brittany Byrd, #ClemencyNOW Campaign Director, families with loved ones awaiting clemency, and clemency recipients

When: November 15th, 11:00am

Where: 1201 Pennsylvania Ave NW # 300, Washington, DC 20004

Please email with questions


Tuesday, November 15 - 1:00 - 3:00 P.M.

What: Telling Our Stories: A discussion with clemency recipients and the families of incarcerated people about how digital storytelling helped them find hope and support.

Who:  Jon Perri, Associate Campaigns Director,, Brittany Byrd, Attorney and #ClemencyNOW Campaign Director, Amy Povah, CAN-DO Foundation and clemency recipient, Sharanda Jones, clemency recipient, Jason Hernandez, clemency recipient, Ebony Underwood, petition starter.

When: November 15th, 1:00pm

Where: 415 7th Street, NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20004

Limited Capacity: RSVP HERE

Tuesday, November 15 - 7:00 P.M.

Hope for the Holidays at Google


Who: Former Attorney General Eric Holder, Van Jones, clemency recipients, families seeking clemencies for loved ones, #ClemencyNOW Campaign Director Brittany Byrd, #cut50 National Director Jessica Jackson Sloan.

When: 7:00pm

Where: Google HQ in Washington, DC at 25 Massachusetts Ave NW #900, Washington, DC 20001

THIS EVENT IS INVITE ONLY: Please email with questions




Call your member of Congress TODAY (1-888-623-4558) and tell them to act on criminal justice reform! 

With 2.2 million people locked behind bars and 70 million with a criminal record, America's criminal justice system is broken.

Both parties got us into this mess - Democrats and Republicans championed tough-on-crime laws that led to an 800% increase in the number of people in federal prison over the past 30 years.

It will take both parties to get us out.

We launched the campaign for #JusticeReformNOW calling on Congress to work together and pass comprehensive criminal justice reform reforms. 100+ celebrities and dozens of civil rights, criminal justice, and faith organizations joined.

There are proven and effective policies passed at the state level that show we can reduce incarceration while simultaneously reducing crime and saving money. Poll after poll show that the public supports these reforms, such as reforming mandatory minimum sentencing, prioritizing treatment over incarceration, and reducing the number of people in our prisons and jails.

We need you to join this movement to unlock prison doors and open doors to new opportunity for the millions of men, women, and children that have fallen victim to the incarceration industry.

Join the campaign and demand #JusticeReformNOW!



Our funders and collaborators play an integral role in our work as underwriters, champions and allies.


Funding Partners

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If you would like to partner with us, we'd love to hear from you. Please reach out to with information about your organization and ideas for how we might work together.


Our Mission & Work

#cut50 is a national bipartisan initiative to reduce the number of people in our prisons and jails while making our communities safer. 

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform a criminal justice system that has grown too big, too unfair, and too brutal. We catalyze new and unlikely partnerships, elevate proven solutions, amplify the voices of those directly impacted by the system, and popularize a new, humanizing narrative of justice, redemption, and transformation.


#cut50,­ an initiative of The Dream Corps­, is a national bipartisan effort to reduce the number of people in our prisons and jails while making our communities safer.

The Dream Corps helps cutting-edge initiatives grow big enough to impact millions of lives. We support economic, environmental and criminal justice innovators – all under one roof. Our shared platform helps leaders create synergies, leapfrog obstacles and maximize impact. View our 2015 Year-End Report here.


Van Jones, Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Former Attorney General Eric Holder at the 2015 Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform in Washington, D.C.


We envision a criminal justice system that recognizes the humanity of the 2.2 million people currently behind bars in America and moves toward compassion and treatment rather than punishment and incarceration. With empathy, understanding, and love we can build the political will needed to rectify the damage caused by the incarceration industry on individuals, families and our society.

Our justice system is a human rights catastrophe and one of the biggest moral crises of our time. — Van Jones

HOW WE WILL #cut50:

#cut50 is popularizing the idea that we can smartly and safely reduce the number of people in our prisons and jails by 50 percent and keep communities safe while doing it.

#cut50 uniquely connects “ground up” ability to educate and mobilize people with “grasstops” media and influencer reach, filling the gap between the expertise and work of leading criminal justice reform organizations and top-tier media and influencers. 

By humanizing the narrative and pursuing transformative legislation, #cut50 is uniting the political machine of Washington DC, the financial reach of Wall Street, the innovation of Silicon Valley, and the cultural dominance of Hollywood to roll back the incarceration industry.


WHY #cut50?

More than two million people are behind bars in the United States, which is close to 1 out of every 100 Americans.  At a time when highways are crumbling and schoolchildren go without books, America spends $80 billion every year on the incarceration industry – an expense that has a devastating impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole.

Reliance on overly long sentences and tough on crime policies is both morally indefensible and economically unjustifiable. For more than three decades, our elected leaders advocated for longer prison sentences and for increasingly minor offenses. These policies have not made our communities any more safe.

The media and popular culture created a narrative to support that. It drove fear into the heart of every mother, father and elected official in America. “Armed Superpredators,” “Willie Horton,” it cried.

As a result, we sent too many people to prison, for too long, with a disproportionate and highly destructive impact on poor communities and communities of color.

We now have: 

  • More than 70 million people living with some type of criminal record.
  • 23 million bear the label "convicted felon" 
  • 5 million children have at least one incarcerated parent
  • 2.2 million people in prisons and jails
  • $80 billion per year spent on prisons

BUT a new narrative is now taking shape: one of bipartisan consensus and hope.

There has never been a better time to mainstream the idea that we can safely close prisons and pursue more effective alternatives. 


There is a growing bipartisan consensus that we must work together to untangle the webs of our broken criminal justice system.

In Red and Blue states across the country, leading governors like John Kasich (R-Ohio), Nathan Deal (R-Georgia), Rick Perry (R-Texas) and Jerry Brown (D-California) demonstrated that a fresh approach to criminal justice can save money and make communities safer.

This has freed up resources for education, job training, and other investments proven to have a positive impact on public safety and economic opportunity. These bold leaders are a model for their peers around the country and our federal government.

Federal legislation has emerged in Congress and the Obama Administration has shown a deep commitment to restoring fairness and balance to our justice system.  

We must seize this moment to work across party lines and safely close prison doors while opening new doors to opportunity for millions of men and women across the country.


Sign the #ClemencyNOW Pledge

I support President Obama and the Department of Justice in ensuring that no eligible non-violent drug offenders be left in prison by the time he leaves office in January 2017. 

For too long, our criminal justice system has been too harsh, too brutal and too unfair for thousands of families. 

Our President should use the full force of his executive action to restore a sense of balance and fairness to the system - especially in light of the fact that Congress has failed to act in a bipartisan manner to pass any criminal justice legislation this session.

We must give people a second chance to reunite with their families, return to their communities and contribute to society.

Sign your name here!


Day of Empathy is a national day of action to generate empathy on a massive scale for millions of Americans impacted by the criminal justice system.


In order to reform our criminal justice system, we must first humanize and empathize with those who are impacted by it.

The Day of Empathy will highlight the needs and share the perspectives of Americans impacted by the current justice system - from survivors of violent crime, those who are addicted or mentally ill, incarcerated individuals working to transform themselves, people with a criminal record desperately seeking a second chance, and all community members impacted by crime, public safety, and violence.

Without empathy, we cannot achieve meaningful policy changes that keep our communities safe, our families whole, and our economy strong.

There are thousands of people - mothers, daughters, children - who have stories to tell. 

The Day of Empathy will shine a light on people impacted by the criminal justice system, uplift their voices, and win over hearts and minds towards the idea that transformation is possible.  


  1. On March 1st, 2017 organizations across the country will be activated for a single day of action to spotlight their local efforts and unite under a unified banner to highlight the strength of the bipartisan criminal justice reform movement.

  2. "Ambassadors of Empathy" will meet with elected officials in State capitols and Governors' offices across the country. They will share their experiences and how they have been impacted by the criminal justice system. Legislators will gain first-hand experience of the human consequences of a criminal justice system that has gotten too big, too unfair, and too brutal.

  3. The Day of Empathy will feature storytelling, digital media, and virtual  realitycontent to humanize formerly incarcerated people, survivors of violent crime, and millions of others. By delivering a set of powerful, emotional experiences to lawmakers and fellow Americans, the Day of Empathy will accelerate the bipartisan drive to create more effective, efficient, and humane criminal justice system. 

Visit our Day of Empathy site here!


A Cycle of Poverty & Incarceration

web15-equality-mississippi-qumotriakennedy-1160x864.jpgEconomic pressures associated with America's ballooning prison and criminal justice systems have created a new wave of punishment in the form of monetary sanctions known as fees and fines. In addition to locking people up in physical prisons, these policies trap some of our most vulnerable citizens in financial prisons, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

While the bipartisan movement for criminal justice reform has benefited from widespread media attention, that same level of awareness has not yet been brought to the issue of fees and fines.

In partnership with the Arnold Foundation, #cut50 is leading a multimedia public engagement campaign combining policy expertise, celebrity reach, political partnerships and the voices of the American people to drive reform. 

Read the posts in our series:

Two hundred years ago, the United States abolished debtors prisons but a new wave of monetary sanctions is bringing back the practice. This series aims to shine light on the activists, lawmakers and community members working to end a vicious cycle of poverty and incarceration perpetuated by Fees and Fines.

Some funding for #cut50 is provided by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation but #cut50 maintains full editorial autonomy. The views expressed in this post are those of the author. 


Other Recommended reading:


By humanizing the narrative and pursuing transformative legislation, #cut50 is uniting  the political machine of Washington DC,  the financial reach of Wall Street, the innovation of Silicon Valley, and the cultural dominance of Hollywood to roll back the incarceration industry.

Our ongoing campaigns:



#JusticeReformNOW is our campaign for transformative criminal justice policies. There is an opportunity to pass historic federal legislation and move closer to ending mass incarceration in America. This legislation would reform mandatory minimum sentencing, establish alternatives to incarceration, and provide men and women returning home from prison with an opportunity to succeed. Policies passed at the federal level will create more political space for change at the local level.





#ClemencyNOW is our campaign urging President Obama to fulfill his promise to thousands of non-violent drug offenders languishing in federal prisons. In 2014, the President directed the Department of Justice to prioritize clemency for thousands of nonviolent drug offenders.  But after two years, the sluggish pace of reviews threatens to leave many deserving men and women behind bars when the President leaves office in January.  #cut50 is calling on the President to pull out all stops to make sure he keeps his promise.  Between now and January, #ClemencyNOW will organize celebrities, advocates, academics, and those directly impacted by the incarceration industry to spotlight the people, family members and communities that are all counting on the President.





Day of Empathy is a campaign to leverage the power of virtual reality to change political and social realities. In partnership with Google, #cut50 and its network of media and advocacy partners will use virtual reality experiences based on true stories and broken aspects of our criminal justice system to raise awareness and impact the conversation around prison reform. In early 2017, thousands of activists will bring these VR experiences to elected officials across all 50 states and the U.S. Congress. Through VR, we can create empathy on a massive scale for millions of Americans behind bars and their loved ones. Isolation breeds indifference. Immersion creates empathy. Empathy can facilitate change.




#FeesAndFines is a multimedia campaign to shine light on a new wave of punishment spreading across America - monetary sanctions known as Fees and Fines. Two hundred years ago, the United States abolished debtors prisons but a new wave of monetary sanctions is bringing back the practice. This campaign aims to shine light on the activists, lawmakers and community members working to end a vicious cycle of poverty and incarceration perpetuated by Fees and Fines.