Our solutions are accomplished through implementing our theory of change - which is – that change is horizontal and combines legislation, litigation, education, advocacy training, and direct actions all achieved through coalition building, resulting in long term focused campaigns.
25 for Life
Our campaign to reduce Tennessee’s 51 year life sentence to 25 years has been ongoing since our inception. Tennessee is the only state where a life sentence with parole is 51 calendar years, resulting in three de facto death penalties in Tennessee. We have sponsored bills to end these life sentences with increasing support through political education and collaboration with partner organizations. In 2021, our bill passed the State Senate but we were unable to pass it through the House. We also spearheaded a lawsuit that went to the State Supreme Court challenging this life sentence.
In 2022, we successfully amended Article 1 Section 33 of the Tennessee State Constitution amended the criminality exception which allowed for slavery to remain legal in Tennessee. We continue to work with our national coalition partners to expand abolition to other states and grow the movement to abolish the exception clause in the 13th amendment of the United States Constitution. We are also working with our partners behind prison walls and in the free world to implement the changes which would change the conditions for everyone who has been legally classified as a slave.
Abolition of Private Prisons
We believe that the abolition of private prisons is an obvious first step to comprehensive abolition of all prisons. In the past, we have organized direct actions targeting CoreCivic, and through community organizing with RTTC (Rotten To The Core Coalition) ended CoreCivic’s multi decade jail contract with Nashville.
However, the work continues. We continue to provide supportive spaces to families who have loved ones incarcerated in CoreCivic facilities which facilities their ability to advocate for their loved ones.
We could not do the work that we do without our community partners. In addition to the coalitions we have convened and are part of which are involved in grassroot legislative and electoral organizing, we are active in collaborations which directly address the harm the carceral system causes to our families and communities.
To this end, we have convened Nashville Community Crisis Response which is a group of organizations and individuals who are working to build a completely community based mental health crisis response which does not rely on police.
We are also giving support to organizations established behind the walls by insiders who are banding together to improve their conditions while in prison.