Re-Imagining The Justice System: Justice That Works

Is the justice system working? One lawyer, Heather Hamel, living and working in Arizona says that it is not. Her mission is to promote a re-imagined justice system that works on a community level to heal make whole rather than fragment and perpetuate hate.

She has said that for those who are working towards reforming the justice system, Arizona is the place to begin. The state of Arizona currently holds the most incarcerated individuals out of the US, and the numbers are growing. In addition, Arizona imprisons more black people per capital that the other US states.

The Justice That Works team takes a revolutionary stance when it comes to reforming the justice system. Rather than look at little tweaks and fixes, they aim at changing a paradigm. Their mission statement reads, “We reject the notion that police or prisons are necessary or that surveilling, violating, caging, or deporting people creates safety.”

This is such a powerful statement, because it so clearly flies in the face of convention. The US has “caged” people for hundreds of years, and yet the JTW mission statement makes that seem extremely barbaric.

Taken from another view point, it is clear that “Surveilling, violating, and caging” people is savage and does not solve anything. It is only making the problem worse by feeding hate and poverty into communities rather than working towards a solution that will actually lead to safety. Their projects focus on community healing, shifting funding so that investments are taken from the prison system and re-invested in community programs, and educational initiatives.

Currently, for those interested in education, JTW is teaching free classes in the evenings every two weeks so that people can become informed about the prison system crisis facing the state of Arizona. Read more: Michael Larcey | Crunchbase and Michael Larcey | Twitter

These classes are free and open to the public. Topics include the state of the prison system, as mentioned, but also move into relevant topics like racial justice and theories behind incarceration and marginalization. The classes involve dialogue, film, and even poetry readings. This is one way that JTW is involving the community in seeking a solution to the problem that they face.

The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund is involved in supporting groups that work towards social justice, civil rights, and migrant rights. The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund was started when Micheal Lacey and Jim Larken became involved in a social justice and freedom of speech case of their own. Micheal founded the Pheonix New Times back in the ’70s along with his business partner Jim.

In 2007 they were thrown in jail in the middle of the night due to an article that they had published in the Pheonix New Times, about the finances and management policies going on at the local Sheriff’s office.

Once the case was looked into, it was clear that the authorities had no right to incarcerate them. The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund is the result of their legal battle and experiences. Their funding goes towards initiatives that support fair treatment of every human.

Learn more about Jim Larkin: