Non-profit

Justice Action Network

Website:

www.justiceactionnetwork.org/

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax ID:

47-2975432

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $5,600,120
Expenses: $4,654,662
Assets: $1,894,709

Type:

Criminal Justice Reform Advocacy

Formation:

2015

Executive Director:

Holly Harris

Justice Action Network (JAN) is a criminal justice advocacy group working at both the state and national levels. JAN provides research and polling information to assist other organizations across the political spectrum to create their own campaigns to advocate for liberalization of the criminal justice system. It also hosts events with leaders from politics, business, and government. [1]

Policy

Opposing Return of Released Prisoners

The CARES Act, signed by former President Donald Trump during the Covid-19 pandemic, allowed certain federal inmates to be released to home confinement in order to prevent spread of the disease in federal prisons. However, the bill required released inmates to return to prison once the pandemic ended to serve the rest of their sentence. Advocacy groups, including JAN, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Families Against Mandatory Minimums, have called for President Joe Biden to grant clemency to these inmates and allow them to stay in their homes. JAN federal director Inimai Chettiar said that returning released prisoners would put a strain on the federal prison system. [2]

Clean Slate

After a three-year-long educational campaign led by Community Legal Services (CLS), with partnership from Center for American Progress, the first “clean slate” law was passed in Pennsylvania in 2018. The bill created the first automated criminal record clearance program in the United States, which seals the records of persons convicted of qualifying misdemeanors after ten years if the person remains crime-free. JAN played an active role in building conservative support for the bill in the Pennsylvania legislature. [3]

After the bill passed, CLS and JAN sought changes to a provision requiring that all fines and fees be paid prior to becoming eligible for expungement left many poor persons ineligible. Legislation to repeal this requirement passed the Pennsylvania legislature unanimously in December 2019. JAN also participated in another campaign in Pennsylvania in October 2020 in support of a “fair chance” licensing law that removed certain prohibitions on former felons obtaining occupational licenses. [4]

Policing

After the mass protests in the United States following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020 at police hands, JAN’s federal policy director, Inimai Chettiar, noted a “shift in public opinion” in which “more people are seeing the need for police reform.” [5]

In 2021, Congress took up police reform proposals in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. A significant point of contention over the act was whether to reform “qualified immunity,” which many activists believe permits police officers to avoid liability for civil rights violations. JAN was one of a group of organizations working toward a compromise that would “hold police departments or municipalities accountable for misconduct committed by their police officers.” [6]

Lobbying Efforts

First Step Act

The First Step Act was federal legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in 2018. JAN supported the First Step Act, and executive director Holly Harris lobbied for the bill’s passage. [7] The law permits retroactive resentencing of some prisoners sentenced under mandatory minimum laws relating to crack cocaine that have been modified by Congress, permits certain prisoners to obtain early release for rehabilitative efforts, and prohibits shackling of pregnant women. [8]

Arizona House Bill 2810

In Arizona, working in partnership with the right-leaning Goldwater Institute, libertarian Institute for Justice, and the Free Enterprise Club, JAN advocated for House Bill 2810, which was passed unanimously by the Arizona Senate at the end of April 2021. The bill would change Arizona’s civil forfeiture laws, “making it more difficult for the government to keep seized property without a criminal conviction.” [9] A JAN senior analyst, Lauren Krisai, argued that the bill would not impede police operations. [10]

Washington Senate Bill 5226

As of June 2021, JAN supports a bill in Washington state senate that would prohibit suspension of drivers’ licenses for failure to pay criminal fines and fees. JAN policy analyst Carl Filler argued that the state’s current system forces families further into debt and causes them to lose jobs because they cannot afford to pay traffic fines, which then results in their licenses being revoked. JAN claims that SB 5226—which has the support of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D)—would help prevent recidivism and aid poor families. [11]

First Step Implementation Act of 2021

JAN has advocated for passage of the bipartisan First Step Implementation Act of 2021 was introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the committee’s ranking member. The bill seeks to build on the First Step Act and expand eligibility for its sentencing reduction provisions. [12] At the end of May 2021, Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) came out in support of the bill, saying it would benefit Georgians who committed nonviolent crimes by expunging their juvenile records. Several organizations support the bill, including American Conservative Union, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Due Process Institute, Human Rights for Kids, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Americans for Prosperity. [13]

Coalition for Public Safety

Coalition for Public Safety (CPS), a related organization to JAN, claims to be the nation’s largest bipartisan coalition for criminal justice advocacy. Partner organizations include Center for American Progress (CAP), Freedom Works, Prison Fellowship, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Faith and Freedom Coalition. [14]

The same staff that work for JAN also work for CPS. [15] The organization was created in February 2015 and files independent federal tax returns. [16]

People

Holly Harris

Holly Harris, a lawyer and conservative activist from Kentucky, is president and executive director of Justice Action Network, as well as executive director of the Coalition for Public Safety. [17] She is a graduate from the University of Kentucky College of Law and was later appointed general counsel to the Republican Party of Kentucky. [18]

Harris is an advocate on women’s issues and criminal justice. In March 2017, Harris and then-Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) published an article focusing on the increase in the number of incarcerated women and the impact on children of a mother’s imprisonment. [19]

In an article in Foreign Affairs, Harris states that the U.S. has an “epidemic of incarceration” and blames this on the country’s “tough on crime” policies. She believes that the high incarceration rates have a negative impact on society. Harris also believes that the overcriminalization causes people to break the law without intending to do so. [20]

Jenna Bottler

As the deputy director of JAN, Jenna Bottler handles policy development, communications strategy, and outreach to lawmakers and stakeholders. Bottler is also the deputy director of Coalition for Public Safety. [21]  She was previously at the Pew Charitable Trusts and prior to that served on the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. [22]

Finances

JAN has provided money to both right-leaning and left-leaning groups, including American Conservative Union Foundation, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), and Faith and Freedom Coalition. [23]

In 2018, Justice Action Network paid $150,000 to the public affairs firm Dickinson & Avella, PLLC to assist with state lobbying efforts and $141,250 to Elmendorf Strategies for federal lobbying efforts. It paid the liberal public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker $404,861 for “consulting.” [24]

In 2018, the Republican State Leadership Committee received $30,000 from Justice Action Network and the Young Republican National Federation received $6,000. [25]

References

  1. Polling – What We Do. Justice Action Network. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://www.justiceactionnetwork.org/polling ^
  2. Kight, Stef. “Home Confines Face Imminent Return to Prison.” Axios. May 7, 2021. Accessed June 5, 2021. https://www.axios.com/prison-coronavirus-biden-justice-department-58882af9-d14a-4bcc-a0db-93873299a918.html ^
  3. Vallas, Rebecca; Dietrich, Sharon; and May, Beth Avery. “A Criminal Record Shouldn’t Be a Life Sentence to Poverty.” Center for American Progress. May 28, 2021. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/reports/2021/05/28/499712/criminal-record-shouldnt-life-sentence-poverty/ ^
  4. Vallas, Rebecca; Dietrich, Sharon; and May, Beth Avery. “A Criminal Record Shouldn’t Be A Life Sentence To Poverty.” Center for American Progress. May 28, 2021. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/reports/2021/05/28/499712/criminal-record-shouldnt-life-sentence-poverty/ ^
  5. Derysh, Igor. “A Year After the Nationwide Protests, Some Signs of Progress – But Police Are Still Killing People.” Salon. May 28, 2021. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://www.salon.com/2021/05/28/a-year-after-the-nationwide-protests-some-signs-of-progress–but-police-are-still-killing-people/ ^
  6. “Congress Divided Over Measure to End Police Qualified Immunity.” The Crime Report. May 25, 2021. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://thecrimereport.org/2021/05/25/congress-divided-over-measure-to-end-police-qualified-immunity/ ^
  7. Nanos, Elura. “Biden Administration Flip-Flopped Its Position in Case Over Crack Cocaine Sentences. SCOTUS Did Not Seem Pleased.” Law and Crime. May 4, 2021. Accessed June 2, 2021. https://lawandcrime.com/supreme-court/biden-administration-flip-flopped-its-position-in-case-over-crack-cocaine-sentences-scotus-did-not-seem-pleased/ ^
  8. Fouriezos, Nick. “Will This Bourbon-Loving Kentucky Conservative Usher in Prison Reform?” OZY. December 3, 2018. Accessed June 2, 2021. https://www.ozy.com/news-and-politics/will-this-bourbon-loving-kentucky-conservative-usher-in-prison-reform/90935/ ^
  9. Vandell, Perry. “Maricopa County Attorney Urges Ducey to Veto Bill That Would Reform Civil Forfeiture Law.” AZ Central. May 4, 2021. Accessed June 4, 2021. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/legislature/2021/05/04/allister-adel-urges-ducey-veto-bill-reform-civil-forfeiture-law/4944212001/ ^
  10. Sullum, Jacob. “Arizona’s Newly Enacted Forfeiture Reforms Will Make It Harder for Cops to Steal Property.” Reason. May 6, 2021. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://reason.com/2021/05/06/arizonas-newly-enacted-reforms-will-make-it-harder-for-cops-to-steal-property/ ^
  11. Johnson, Gene. “Inslee OKs Bill Curbing Debt-Based License Suspensions.” AP News. May 10, 2021. Accessed June 5, 2021. https://apnews.com/article/wa-state-wire-bills-government-and-politics-debc5d00b4da1d0f5074fb1abf4b5e2b ^
  12. “Durbin, Grassley Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Advance the First Step Act’s Goals.” Committee on Judiciary. March 25, 2021. Accessed June 5, 2021. https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/press/dem/releases/durbin-grassley-introduce-bipartisan-legislation-to-advance-the-first-step-acts-goals#:~:text=The%20First%20Step%20Act%20is,prepare%20to%20reenter%20society%20successfully. ^
  13. “Senator Ossoff Supports Criminal Justice Reform Bill That Expunges Records for Nonviolent Federal Juvenile Offenses.” The Atlanta Voice. May 25, 2021. Accessed June 5, 2021.  https://www.theatlantavoice.com/articles/senator-ossoff-supports-criminal-justice-reform-bill-that-expunges-records-for-nonviolent-juvenile-offenses/ ^
  14. Partners – Who We Are. Coalition for Public Safety. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://www.coalitionforpublicsafety.org/partners ^
  15. Justice Action Network, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule O. Accessed June 3, 2021. https://causeiq.s3.amazonaws.com/form990s/2019_12_EO/472975432_2019_12_EO_93493295010419.pdf?response-content-disposition=filename%3Dform990-472975432-us-justice-action-network-2018-12.pdf&response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ6QW4APNZUQPWEJQ&Expires=1622554950&Signature=bSOFT8CShkTaDNIeUe723d%2Bpwuo%3D ^
  16. Coalition for Public Safety. ProPublica. Accessed June 3, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/472675069/201932959349300333/IRS990 ^
  17. Harris, Holly. “Nomination of Vanita Gupta for the United States Associate Attorney General. Justice Action Network.” February 24, 2021. Accessed June 3, 2021.  https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2.24.21%20-%20Justice%20Action%20Network%20Letter%20for%20Vanita%20Gupta.pdf  ^
  18. Holly Harris. Justice Action Network. Accessed June 2, 2021. https://www.justiceactionnetwork.org/holly-harris ^
  19. Love, Mia and Harris, Holly. “Criminal Justice Reform: A Women’s Issue.” The Hill. March 13, 2017. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/judicial/323244-criminal-justice-reform-a-womens-issue  ^
  20. Harris, Holly. “The Prisoner Dilemma.” Foreign Affairs. March/April 2017. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2017-02-13/prisoner-dilemma?utm_medium=promo_email&utm_source=lo_flows&utm_campaign=registered_user_welcome&utm_term=email_1&utm_content=20210606 ^
  21. Staff – Who We Are. Coalition for Public Safety. Accessed June 3, 2021. https://www.coalitionforpublicsafety.org/staff ^
  22. Jenna Bottler. Justice Action Network. Accessed June 3, 2021. https://www.justiceactionnetwork.org/jenna-bottler   ^
  23. Justice Action Network, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule I, Part II. Accessed June 2, 2021. https://causeiq.s3.amazonaws.com/form990s/2019_12_EO/472975432_2019_12_EO_93493295010419.pdf?response-content-disposition=filename%3Dform990-472975432-us-justice-action-network-2018-12.pdf&response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ6QW4APNZUQPWEJQ&Expires=1622554950&Signature=bSOFT8CShkTaDNIeUe723d%2Bpwuo%3D ^
  24. Justice Action Network, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Part VII, Section B. Accessed June 1, 2021. https://causeiq.s3.amazonaws.com/form990s/2019_12_EO/472975432_2019_12_EO_93493295010419.pdf?response-content-disposition=filename%3Dform990-472975432-us-justice-action-network-2018-12.pdf&response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ6QW4APNZUQPWEJQ&Expires=1622554950&Signature=bSOFT8CShkTaDNIeUe723d%2Bpwuo%3D ^
  25. Justice Action Network, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule C, Part 1-C. Accessed June 2, 2021. https://causeiq.s3.amazonaws.com/form990s/2019_12_EO/472975432_2019_12_EO_93493295010419.pdf?response-content-disposition=filename%3Dform990-472975432-us-justice-action-network-2018-12.pdf&response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ6QW4APNZUQPWEJQ&Expires=1622554950&Signature=bSOFT8CShkTaDNIeUe723d%2Bpwuo%3D ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 2015

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Dec Form 990 $5,600,120 $4,654,662 $1,894,709 $408,459 N $5,600,000 $0 $120 $143,479 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $3,959,020 $4,699,182 $760,681 $219,889 N $3,959,000 $0 $20 $130,816 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $6,080,826 $5,601,419 $1,630,962 $350,008 N $6,080,802 $0 $12 $232,879 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $3,515,543 $2,713,996 $925,612 $124,065 N $3,515,352 $0 $0 $87,213 PDF

    Justice Action Network

    444 N CAPITOL ST NW STE 200
    Washington, DC 20001-1585