Life After Release (LAR) is a formerly incarcerated women-led organization in the DMV area (DC-Maryland-Virginia). We are organizing to build a post-conviction movement where we have the right to challenge our convictions and the system responsible for convicting us in the first place. Our work is grounded in a vision of self-determination for directly-impacted communities and has four main pillars:
Post Conviction Movement Building – We bring together formerly incarcerated people and movement lawyers to expose unjust laws, unconstitutional practices and prosecutorial misconduct that are driving thousands of us to prison and a life of collateral consequences. Our goal is both to build a formidable legal self defense to mitigate against the daily harm and a broader movement through educating the public.
Most Black and Brown women are being policed and prosecuted for crimes of poverty while trying to provide for their families. Our goal is to end this criminalization and ultimately abolish the criminal legal system as we know it.
Legal Empowerment/Participatory Defense – We are also empowering our families through participatory defense and legal skills training to defend each other’s families in court. In 2020, we are launching a Liberation & Justice Institute to expand this work and use it as an expanded basebuilding model.
Court Watch & Judicial Accountability Organizing – We run a community court watch program in Prince George’s County, MD to hold prosecutors, judges and the overall system accountable to its purported purpose and reform goals. Our findings have been the basis for publicly released reports on the implementation of bail reform and a prosecutor accountability campaign against the PG County State’s Attorney’s Office. We have 40 trained volunteers driving this program.
Community Outreach (Bail Outs & Transitional Services) – We run an ongoing community bail out program that has brought home hundreds of Black mothers. We also work to ensure our mothers have rapid housing after incarceration and access to transportation. We also organize mutual aid efforts and provide access to technology for women after they come home.
Life After Release is part of an ecosystem of movement organizations including Free Black Mamas DMV, Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, Movement for Black Lives, the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls and The Mass Liberation Project.