Text Link
Meet the Winners of Justice Innovation Prize!


Review the questions and materials you will need to submit your project.

Thank you for participating in the Justice Innovation Prize. We recommend reading all application requirements before you begin.

Portions of your application, such as Quick Pitch and Video Presentation, may be published on this website. The remainder will be shared with others during the peer review and evaluation processes. Applications must be submitted in English. This provides consistency across all entries during our review process and reduces the risk of translation error or misinterpreting an application.

Please contact us with questions or technical issues. The application saves automatically, and the status of your application is available to view on your dashboard. Prior to submission, confirm all information provided on the Registration Form is correct. Be sure to review your application as it will appear after it’s submitted (View Application links at top and bottom of the page). Once you submit the application, you will no longer be able to make changes. The Application Status on your dashboard will confirm submission. You will not receive an automated email confirmation.

There are eight major sections of the application to complete:

  1. Quick Pitch
  2. Video Presentation
  3. Your Team
  4. The Problem
  5. Your Project  
  6. Your Impact
  7. Project Plan & Budget
  8. Administrative Information

You must submit your application no later than Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time.


Provide a brief and compelling overview of your approach to ending the cycle of mass incarceration in the United States.

Project Title (up to 10 words)

Choose a name that easily identifies and distinguishes the project.  

Project Statement (up to 25 words)

Provide a short, one-sentence description of your project using language that can be easily understood by non-experts, avoiding jargon and acronyms.  

Executive Summary (up to 75 words)

Provide a summary description of your project and how it will help end the cycle of mass incarceration. This should be a stand-alone statement that does not require any other context to clearly explain what you propose to accomplish. Focus on delivering a compelling overview.

Project Stage

Select one option that best describes the project stage for your proposed approach.

  • Research & Ideation: In the process of developing a new approach to addressing the issue but has not tested the approach.
  • Proof of Concept: Has been implementing the strategy for a small number of targeted stakeholders and/or at a small scale.
  • Scaling: Has evidence of impact and is expanding and adapting the strategy, potentially across multiple legal jurisdictions, but has yet to achieve large-scale implementation.  
  • Operating at Scale: Has evidence that its strategy achieves impact and is delivering the approach at scale.


You are required to submit a video that captures your project and describes why it should be funded. The video is an opportunity to showcase your passion and pitch your story in a succinct format. We want you to share your vision in a way that is different from the written proposal format. This DOES NOT need to be a professionally produced video – a video shot on a smartphone is acceptable.

To complete this part of your application, upload a short digital film using YouTube. Video submissions should follow these guidelines or else it will render the application ineligible:  

  • 90 seconds in length maximum.
  • Must be in English, or if in another language, subtitled in English.
  • Must be captioned. See instructions on how to caption YouTube videos here.
  • Should not contain images of identifiable children (under age 18) without express parental consent.
  • Should not include copyrighted material (including, but not limited to, music) for which you do not have a license.
  • Set the Privacy Settings on your video to Public or Unlisted – do not set them to Private.

Here are general suggestions for delivering a high-quality video pitch:

  • Introduce yourself and your organization(s) and/or team.
  • Explain your project, its uniqueness, its approach, and the impact it will make.
  • Do not simply read a slide deck – instead, try to connect with your audience of peers and Evaluation Panel judges.


Now that you’ve provided a brief overview, tell us more about the leadership and capabilities of those behind the project.

Lead Applicant

You identified a Lead Applicant during registration. If you are selected to receive an Award, the Lead Applicant would be responsible for taking accountability for those grant funds, as well as providing the direction, control, and supervision for the project. Note: Awards will only be made to eligible organizational entities. If you have registered and are applying as an individual or team of individuals, you must have an established eligible organizational entity by the time awards are announced to be eligible to receive funds.

If your Lead Applicant has changed, select Edit Registration Form from the Profile menu to update the information.

Partners (up to 200 words)

Teams are strongly encouraged to partner with nonprofit organizations, grassroots community organizations, volunteer groups, government agencies or other public partners, and/or any private sector entities. Name each partner and describe the relationship between the parties. If you do not have any partners, enter “Not Applicable.” 

Track Record (up to 250 words)

Describe your team’s skills, capacity, and experience that will contribute to making your project a success. Be sure to include core competencies and how they apply to your project, any relevant past endeavors or experience, and any other additional details that support your ability to deliver impact. Note that the Justice Innovation Prize strongly encourages individuals who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to participate as Lead Applicants and/or core members of a project team.  

Biographies (up to 200 words)

Introduce us to up to three individuals who will oversee and be responsible for the success of the project. For each, provide a first/last name, title, and affiliation (if applicable), and a brief biographical statement. Emphasize the expertise and/or credentials that are most relevant to this project.


Fragmented communities, biased sentencing, overcrowded prisons, lack of economic opportunity, and high recidivism have continued the mass incarceration of over 2.1 million men and women in the United States. Here is your opportunity to explain the specific issue you intend to tackle and show how your understanding of its nuances has informed your strategy.

Problem Statement (up to 200 words)

Describe the specific problem you will address as it relates to ending the cycle of mass incarceration. Focus on setting the stage for your project.  

  • Who is impacted by the problem or challenges identified?  
  • Why does the problem exist in the current environment?  
  • What are the most influential ways to affect the necessary change, and where are the leverage points where the smallest change can have the biggest impact?

Existing Landscape (up to 150 words)

Briefly describe other efforts aimed to address this problem and, if applicable, other organizations or projects that are most similar to your work. Explain how your team and proposed project fit into, build, and/or improve on this landscape.


This section provides the opportunity for you to more fully explain how you intend to address the challenge you have outlined above. Illustrate your strategic approach toward ending the cycle of mass incarceration. Be sure to emphasize how your approach aligns with the four criteria used to assess each valid application (see Scoring Rubric).

Project Description (up to 250 words) 

Describe what your project is or does, and how it meaningfully contributes to solving the problem you identified in the previous section. If relevant, what opportunities does your project present for structural or systemic change?  

Project Focus

Please select the area of the criminal legal system that most closely describes the focus of your project.

  • Point of Arrest
  • Pre-trial detention / Diversion  
  • Legal support in criminal case
  • Prison Conditions  
  • Educational / Vocational Training in Prison
  • Parole / Probation
  • Reentry / Post-incarceration
  • Other (Please describe)

Location of Current Work (up to 100 words)

List the location(s) where you and/or your team have already implemented your solution. List these as city/state/country, as applicable.   

Location of Future Work

Where do you plan to implement your solution if you receive this award? Select up to five locations (by state) that apply. If your work is national, regional, or city-based, please select states that best represent where you intend to work and note you may further clarify under Geographic Detail below. These locations may or may not be the same as the locations where you are currently implementing your solution.  

Geographic Detail (up to 100 words)

Please use this field to provide any additional context that may be helpful in understanding where you are working or plan to work. If not applicable, enter “N/A.”  

Innovation (up to 150 words)

Ending the cycle of mass incarceration is a monumental task. How is your approach different from existing programs and practices? What is unique and disruptive about it? How does it represent a departure from the status quo?

Approach to Impact (up to 200 words)

Tell us more about how you think change will happen because of your efforts. Briefly describe your intended path to impact. How will you create a causal link between your shorter-term, intermediate, and long-term goals?

Priority Populations

Select the priority population(s) below that most closely describe the primary beneficiaries for your solution. You must select at least one priority population and you are welcome to provide up to three. These categories are not meant to be limiting. Please do the best you can in your selection and note you will have the opportunity to further clarify under Population Description below.  

Age groups

  • Children (Birth - 14 yrs.)
  • Youth (14 - 19 yrs.)
  • Young Adults (20-25 yrs.)
  • Adults (26-55)
  • Older adults (56+)

Ethnic and racial groups

  • Alaskan Natives
  • Native Hawaiians
  • Pacific Islanders
  • Indigenous peoples
  • American Indians
  • Multiracial people
  • People of African descent
  • People of South Asian descent
  • People of Southeast Asian descent
  • People of Asian descent
  • People of Central Asian descent
  • People of East Asian descent
  • People of European descent
  • People of South American descent
  • People of Caribbean descent
  • People of Latin American descent
  • People of Central American descent
  • People of Middle Eastern descent
  • People of Arab descent

Gender and sexual identity

  • LGBTQIA+ people
  • Men
  • Women
  • Non-Binary people

Social and economic status

  • Children/Family of incarcerated people
  • People currently or previously experiencing homelessness
  • Low-income people
  • People experiencing absolute poverty
  • Immigrants
  • Migrant workers
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • People with prior justice system involvement
  • Offenders
  • People wrongfully incarcerated
  • People who are currently detained in the justice system
  • Survivors and/or victims of crime and abuse

Population Description (up to 200 words)

More fully describe your priority population(s), as well as any secondary or other populations who may engage with and/or benefit from the project. Explain how the project design and plans authentically embrace inclusion across all aspects, including persons with disabilities, religious or ethnic minorities, BIPOC, women, gender identity and sexual orientation. Also include any other demographic details, such as geography, ages, etc.

Community Design & Engagement (up to 150 words)
How will your approach proactively respond to the existing needs of the populations described above in a collaborative, empathetic, and holistic way? How do you plan to continue engaging those communities throughout the project period?

Intellectual Property (up to 100 words)

Intellectual property (IP) is a creative idea, such as an invention, design, symbol, name, image, or manuscript, to which one has legal rights. Examples include a patent, copyright, or trademark. If applicable, explain all issues related to the IP that underlies your approach. Identify owner(s) of the IP. If you are building on existing or off-the-shelf technology, detail the permissions you have secured to utilize that technology. Describe how you will make use of any IP for the purposes of scaling, replication, and/or expansion of your proposed approach during the project period. If there are no intellectual property issues related to your proposed project, enter “Not Applicable.”  

Project Visual

Upload a single PDF that includes a visual representation of your project. For example, you may use schematics, mock-ups of a user interface, diagrams, flow charts, organizational charts, graphs, images, and other visual elements that would help further illustrate your proposed approach. The PDF should not exceed 10MB and a total of two pages and should not contain additional text explanations or be used to circumvent word counts in this application. Some brief labels and/or basic text descriptions are permitted. Any pages beyond the two-page limit, as well as unrelated content to this specific question, will render the application ineligible.


This section provides the opportunity for you to make a case for your proposed approach and why you think it will be successful.

Defining Success (up to 200 words)

What does success look like? What indicators, both qualitative and quantitative, will you use to know you have achieved success?  

Affirmation of Approach (up to 150 words)

What gives you confidence that your approach will work? Provide information and examples that support your thinking. These can include formal or informal studies, observations, and other indicators of change as defined by your community. If necessary, you may reference external sources using brackets and numbers to indicate references [#], which you can clarify in the next section.  

External References (up to 150 words)

If you included external references [#s] in the Affirmation of Approach section of your application, provide more detail here. If not applicable, insert “Not Applicable.”  

Scalability (up to 150 words)

Share your vision and describe plans to scale your approach as a model that can be applied or adapted to meet the diverse, growing needs of communities impacted by mass incarceration around the United States.


Illustrate your plan and the resources required to successfully implement your approach.

Project Plan (up to 200 words)

Provide a detailed implementation plan over the course of a one-year project period. Describe the chronological sequence of key tasks and identify important milestones.  

Risk Management (up to 150 words)

Identify any specific operational or tactical hurdles, principal risks, or challenges to the short- and long-term success of the project and your plans to address them.  

Total Projected Costs

Provide the total projected cost of your approach, including expenses to be covered by sources other than the Justice Innovation Prize, if applicable.  

Budget Narrative (up to 200 words)

Offer a general overview of how you would use the Justice Innovation Prize funding, including the projected needs by budget category.    


Provide a detailed budget for how the $250,000 grant would be spent. Be sure that any funds identified in this table reflect and clarify your general explanations provided in the budget narrative above. All budgets must total $250,000 for proposals to be eligible. Please review the Rules for ineligible expenses.

Financial Sustainability (up to 150 words)

Describe plans to leverage additional resources to sustain and/or scale your approach over time.  

Contingency (up to 100 words)

If total projected costs to implement your project exceed the award amount, explain your plan to secure those funds. Describe how the approach may be impacted if full funding is not secured. If not applicable, insert “Not Applicable.”  

Other Considerations (up to 150 words)

This is your opportunity to raise any other considerations. Here, you may emphasize or expand upon a previous point or provide new information. If not applicable, insert “Not Applicable.”


Dream.Org will execute contractual agreements which will outline the terms of the award provided to any grantee awarded through the Justice Innovation Prize and will also monitor the project. Review our Rules and Terms & Conditions for more details.

If chosen as a Winner by Dream.Org, you will be required to provide additional information to enter into a contractual agreement for the Justice Innovation Prize. The following list is intended to illustrate some basic requirements. Dream.Org reserves the right to require other information, as necessary.

  • Articles of Incorporation, Charter, or similar documentation
  • A more detailed work plan, timeline, and/or evaluation plan.
  • Evidence of additional funding and resources secured to implement the proposed project.
  • Existing policies, if any, addressing conflicts of interest, whistleblower, internal controls, anti-money laundering, intellectual property, code of conduct, ethics, gifts, and any similar policies governing the principal organization and/or partners.

Dream.Org reserves the right to perform background checks on key individuals associated with the proposal, and the refusal by key individuals to provide necessary authorizations will be a reason to reject any application for further consideration. Background information and the results of any background checks will be kept confidential.

Let’s transform the criminal justice system and usher in a new era that actually protects communities and keeps families whole.
Register Now
Stay up to date on news and announcements from Dream.Org.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
When you accept, you agree to store cookies to help give you the best experience on our site. See Preferences to change preferences at any time, Read our Cookie Policy for more details.