Open Society Institute: Criminal Justice Initiative


The Criminal Justice Initiative signifies the strong commitment to reducing the excessive reliance on punishment and incarceration in the United States, and to promoting fair and equal treatment in all aspects of the criminal justice system. The goal of CJI is to promote criminal justice policies and practices that are sensible and fair, and to support the redirection of resources away from spending on prisons toward long-term solutions for safe and vibrant communities, including effective crime prevention and rehabilitation programs.

Purpose of Site:
The site provides information about CJI's grantmaking programs, links to publications supported by the initiative, and guidelines for grantseekers and prospective Soros fellows.

The Open Society Institute combined its national criminal justice grantmaking programs under one umbrella to create CJI in 2001. CJI works to coordinate and enhance six programs. The Gideon Project focuses on fair administration of justice, including the reform of the death penalty through advocacy, legal representation, and research. The After Prison Initiative supports the successful reentry of prisoners to their communities, and Baltimore's Criminal Justice Initiative encourages public funding of effective transition programs for returning prisoners and alternatives to incarceration for juvenile offenders. Other programs support scholars, researchers, grassroots organizers, advocates, and journalists working on a wide range of criminal justice issues and innovations.

Home Page:
The CJI home page is broken up into three sections. Under "What's New," the site posts links to additions to the site, including new publications and grantseeker guidelines. "In the News" includes news on Soros fellows and links to their various articles and publications. Finally, the right side of the home page — "CJI Feature" — is devoted to links to publications focusing on key CJI issues.

Outstanding Feature:
Significant publications are the foundation for CJI's work, and the site does an outstanding job of highlighting them and providing links to reports and information on how to order them. The page includes links to grantee publications such as (49 pages, PDF) by Jeremy Travis and Michelle Waul of the Urban Institute Justice Policy Center; fellow publications, including (19 pages, PDF) by Soros Justice Postgraduate Fellow Heather Barr; and publications by friends and affiliates of the Open Society Institute, including the second edition of (57 pages, PDF) from the Columbia Journalism Review.

Honorable Mention:
The section of the CJI site provides links to the objectives, funding priorities, and application guidelines for each of the programs. It also features news about grantees and lists of previous grant recipients.

Senior Program Associate: William J. Johnston, Jr.
Main Office:
400 West 59th Street, 3rd Floor
New York, New York 10019
Tel: (111) 548-4666