Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice





Criminal justice reform group

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Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice (CSSJ), formerly known as Californians for Safety and Justice, is an advocacy group which supports left-of-center criminal justice reforms, particularly limiting incarceration and providing more benefits to victims of crime. CSSJ is a project of Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ), which is fiscally sponsored by the Tides Center.

In 2012, CSSJ was founded in California by eleven members of ASJ, and is currently staffed by twelve members of ASJ, including the organization’s co-founders Lenore Anderson and Robert Rooks. As of March 2021, the group has 42,000 members spread throughout chapters in California, Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, and New Jersey. 12 A large portion of CSSJ’s membership consists of male racial minorities. 3

Members of CSSJ were appointed to advisory positions by newly-elected Los Angeles district attorney George Gascon (D). In February 2021, a recall campaign effort was launched against Gascon for his lenient criminal justice policies; CSSJ has spoken out in support of Gascon.


Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice wants victims of crime to receive more government assistance; one survey run by CSSJ found that fewer than 20 percent of California victims of crime received counselling, medical assistance, or financial support. The group supported California’s SB 375, a bill passed in 2019 which extended the time for crime victims to apply for assistance and compensation from the California Victim Compensation Board. 4

CSSJ supports reducing imprisonment in favor of “rehabilitative” punishment. The group has run multiple surveys which claim to find that most victims of crime support shorter sentencing and lighter punishments. In 2014, CSSJ spun off Vote Safe, an organization that supported the successful passage of California’s Proposition 47, which reclassified numerous crimes from felonies to misdemeanors for non-repeat offenders. In 2019, CSSJ supported the passage of Florida’s HB 7125, which introduced graduated punishments for technical parole violations (like missing classes or work) rather than comparatively harsh imprisonment, and reduced imprisonment sentencing for petty crimes. 567

CSSJ supported the FIRST Step Act signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2018. The bill was a comprehensive criminal justice reform package modeled on legislation signed by Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) in Texas. The bill aimed to reduce the federal prison population by lowering mandatory minimum sentencing on non-violent drug offenses, giving judges more discretionary power over sentencing, and reducing the maximum penalty for individuals who commit three felonies to 25 years in jail. 8

George Gascon

In 2021, newly-elected Los Angeles county prosecutor George Gascon (D) introduced a sweeping array of new policy changes, including sentencing limitations, restricting prosecutor power to withhold bail, ending the use of the death penalty in Los Angeles County, and limitations on trying juveniles in adult courts. Gascon also created the Crime Victims Advisory Board, which included representatives from numerous left-of-center organizations, including Restore Justice, the Healing Justice Transformation Institute, 2nd Call, and two representatives from Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. 910

Gascon’s early policies brought praise from left-of-center advocacy groups and prosecutors across the United States. However, he quickly received backlash from conservative groups who considered him soft on crime. In February 2021, over 100 individuals protested against Gascon at the Hall of Justice, and a recall campaign was launched against Gascon led by former L.A. County district attorney Steve Cooley (R-Los Angeles) and former L.A. Councilman Dennis Zine (I-Los Angeles). 11

California state director of the CSSJ Tinisch Hollins spoke out against the recall campaign, calling it “irresponsible” and a “dangerous distraction” from the criminal justice challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 12


  1. “Chapters.” Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. Accessed March 2, 2021.
  2. “Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice California.” Californians for Safety and Justice. Accessed March 2, 2021.
  3. Mansoor, Sanya. “U.S. Crime Victims Often Don’t Get the Government Money Meant to Help them Heal – and Say they Feel ‘Excluded’.” Time. September 9, 2020. Accessed March 2, 2021.
  4. Rodriguez, Tina. “A crime victim, this Fresno woman has reclaimed her life, and is ready to help others.” Fresno Bee. April 23, 2019. Accessed March 2, 2021.
  5. “Landmark Justice Reform Package on Its Way to the Governor.” Sunshine State News. May 3, 2019. Accessed March 2, 2021.
  6. Thomas, Aswad. “What We Need To Curb Violence In the U.S. (And It Isn’t More Prisons and Policing.” Crime Supervisors for Safety and Justice. August 25, 2020. Accessed March 2, 2021.
  7. Stillman, Sarah. “Black Wounds Matter.” New Yorker. October 15, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2021.
  8. Davis, Keith. “Opinion: Break the cycle of crime to make our communities safer.” Statesman. June 7, 2019. Accessed March 2, 2021.
  9. Poston, Ben. “Victims rights advocate launch recall effort against newly elected L.A. Dist. Atty. George Gascon.” Los Angeles Times. February 27, 2021. Accessed March 2, 2021.
  10. “December 17, 2020: District Attorney George Gascon Lunches Crime Victims Advisory Board.” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. December 17, 2020. Accessed March 2, 2021.
  11. “Group launches recall campaign against LA County District Attorney George Gascon.” Los Angeles Daily News. February 27, 2021. Accessed March 2, 2021.
  12. “Group launches recall campaign against LA County District Attorney George Gascon.” Los Angeles Daily News. February 27, 2021. Accessed March 2, 2021.
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