Grantees Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement (EPOCA)

We believe that social change can only be led by the people who most need the change. No one can give power to someone else. Therefore, those of us who have the least advantage, the least power within the traditional system, have to work together to change the situation ourselves.

We in EPOCA have realized that we cannot sit around and wait for the world to realize that the last two decades of “criminal justice” policy have been a hideous failure – we have to get together, register to vote, and build a constituency behind sane policies that build people up rather than tearing them down.

In organizing the way we do, we not only win the policy changes we seek, but we change the way decisions are made and power is held in our communities. No one knows the flaws in our society better than we do, and no one is more ready to take action to erase those flaws than we are.

Beyond issues of incarceration and re-entry policy, we see ourselves as potential leaders in the social movement as a whole, and particularly as strong allies to youth organizing. In the end, we are more ready and willing to fight for all kinds of progressive change than almost any other group in society, and therefore we have no choice but to lead.