America already has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with overstuffed and under resourced prisons. At any given moment, there are 2 million people behind bars. And yet, over the last four decades, we have seen a stunning expansion of the United States’ prison system, creating more pain for communities and families without actually making us safer. The prison industrial complex is an $80 billion dollar industry with little to show for it. That a shocking 77% of formerly incarcerated people return to prison shows that this industry is failing to deliver on its promise and is ripe for disruption. Ushering in a new reality where prisons are more than dungeons requires courage, commitment, wisdom, and grit – and an invitation to think big, leverage untapped connections, and disrupt the status quo.
At Dream.Org, we know our greatest problems provide the greatest opportunities. We’ve been building coalitions and forging unlikely alliances for years – and we know there’s a wealth of cross-sector collaborations and community expertise still to be leveraged. Now, we’re inviting new ideas and new voices to the table.
We will award $1 million to the next big innovation to end the cycle of mass incarceration.
Applications are welcome from around the world but must propose projects that will be implemented within the United States. Entrepreneurial teams are highly encouraged. Each team must designate an eligible Lead Applicant that will be responsible for any grant award. Please note that while individuals may register and participate, they will be required to establish or partner with an eligible organizational entity by the time awards are selected in order to receive funding.
We strongly encourage individuals who have been directly impacted by the US criminal justice system to participate as Lead Applicants and/or core members of a project team. Teams may partner with startups, nonprofits, grassroots community organizations, volunteer groups, government agencies or other public partners, and/or any private sector entities.
Projects may focus on addressing any area of the U.S. criminal legal system, including but not limited to:
To further promote learning and exchange around this crucial topic, applicants will participate in Peer-to-Peer Review, and Finalists will be invited to an in-person pitch event in Fall 2023.
Strong solutions will be innovative, impactful, feasible, and scalable. Please see the scoring rubric for more information on how proposals will be assessed.
The Justice Innovation Prize will host Q&A webinars in the weeks leading up to the registration and submission deadlines. Information to sign up for these webinars will be emailed to those who have registered and will be available on News & Updates.
In the meantime, please review the prize rules, timeline, and application, and email us with any questions.