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Rapid Response Fund 

 2020 will likely be remembered in US history for two defining events:  The spread of the Covid-19 virus, and, no less consequential to life and  death in our communities, the national presidential and “down ballot”  elections. In this perilous time, our movement to transform the criminal  justice system must be on high alert to the dangers and opportunities  posed by these monumental concerns. 

CJI’s SOS Rapid  Response Fund has always provided flexible and immediate funding to  organizations responding to changing political landscapes and working to  build collective power at critical junctures.  SOS Grant ranges are between $2,500 to $5,000 (max). In the coming months, SOS  will continue to respond to crisis and opportunities across the  spectrum of our work, giving priority to the following categories: 

1)  Organizing that responds to opportunities or dangers affecting the  health, safety, or human rights of incarcerated and directly impacted  people based on Covid-19 policies or practices.  

Examples may include, but are not limited to: 

·  Campaigns to secure the release of incarcerated people to protect  health and safety during Covid-19. This may include calls to reduce risk  by reducing the overall prison population, such as campaigns to release  people detained for technical parole violations, and/or people serving  sentences of one year or less. It may also include campaigns to secure  the release of people who are vulnerable to the virus such as people  over 50 and people with underlying health conditions. 

·  Mobilizing to make prison and jail communication free of charge in  response to Covid-related bans to in-person visits. Such campaigns may  support policy change and educate the public about the price of calling  prisons in a time when telephone communication is the only way families  can speak with incarcerated loved ones. 

· Campaigns that  demand emergency wages for incarcerated people who are making hand  sanitizer, masks, and other Covid-related materials. 

2)  Organizing to support the rights of formerly incarcerated and directly  impacted people to effectively participate in the electoral process. 

Examples may include, but are not limited to: 

·  Mobilizing community action to re-enfranchise incarcerated or formerly  incarcerated people by introducing or supporting legislation that  restores their voting rights and/or reduces obstacles to the restoration  of their voting rights, such as unpaid court fines and fees. 

·  Organizing to include the rights of incarcerated and formerly  incarcerated people in voting rights campaigns that have gained momentum  due to COVID 19. This may include campaigns to increase access to voter  registration, expand early voting, and expand voting by mail, all of  which disproportionately affect incarcerated and formerly incarcerated  people who are often left out of campaign strategies and materials.  

·  Community education campaigns that explain the rights of incarcerated  and formerly incarcerated people and combat widespread misinformation  about their eligibility to vote.

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