A few years ago when looking to fundraise for criminal justice reform I was turned on to bail funds. Although they are a wonderful cause that I have supported since, they are also band-aids on a broken system. While researching ways to stop the bleeding I spoke to Chloe Cockburn, an expert in the field, who in turn introduced me to Miriam Krinsky from Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP). For the first time, I believe I have found an organization that is trying to efficiently and effectively change the system.

FJP is a learning and support network of forward-thinking local prosecutors who are dedicated to creating a more equitable justice system, strategizing on everything from ending cash bail, to transforming policing, to reimagining the role of the prosecutors. Recently, with COVID-19 spread of particular concern within prisons, prosecutors within the FJP network were integral to a dramatic reduction in incarceration, with over a dozen jurisdictions across the country down by at least 25%. For example, the jail population in San Francisco was reduced 40% from January to April. On the one hand, wow, what a gigantic accomplishment! On the other hand, think about how heartbreaking it is that there were so many people incarcerated for minor enough crimes that the system was simply able to release them. In other areas across the US, FJP prosecutors have been working to limit arrests and decline or defer prosecutions for low-level offenses in order to curb the flow of people into the legal system. These robust and adaptive responses to the pandemic are simply the FJP network’s latest steps towards crafting an improved, smaller criminal legal system that better serves everyone.

I believe we are in a defining moment, and it is important to be on the right side of history. The biggest response to this broken system, Black Lives Matter, could be the largest movement in U.S. history according to the New York Times. The justice system has been especially unfair toward black people for too long, and I support FJP’s efforts to address racial disparities and promote police accountability as they construct a more fair criminal justice system and safer communities for all.

I am proud to support and draw attention to this organization and the very important issues they are taking on. I hope you will be similarly inspired by their work. If you agree that the system is broken and you find yourself in a position to donate at this time, a contribution to FJP may be one of the best steps you can take towards improving it. Please visit FJP’s website to donate directly; up to $10,000 per donor will be automatically matched. If you wish to donate more than $10,000, please email me at dan@doubleupdrive.com.

I would like to extend a very special thanks to Andrew Barber, Michael Ferrell, and another anonymous donor who have generously joined me as matchers for this timely and important drive. These are challenging times for all but we are not all powerless. We cannot forget to look forward and take action. Personally, these drives are helping me maintain sanity, and I’m very grateful for all of the support.

Dan Smith