30 or so people stand on the Washington State capitol steps, looking down at a person speaking to them on the sidewalk.

Led by and for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Founded in 2015, Civil Survival organizes people in the state of Washington who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system to build connections, gain knowledge and increase political participation.

Our Values

Equity

We confront the barriers to liberation—institutional, interpersonal, and internalized—created by systems of oppression. Civil Survival acknowledges and addresses the ways in which our intersectional identities impact our experiences of mass incarceration, the legal system, and the political process. We commit ourselves to understanding and uprooting white supremacy, misogyny, ableism, and institutional racism.

Community

We are strongest when we build authentic relationships, grounded in our shared humanity and worth. Civil Survival creates spaces that connect, value, and uplift the voices of those harmed by the criminal legal system. Together, we can advocate for change and create a society where all people can thrive.

Lived Experience

Our strength is in our stories, the variety of our life experiences and our identities. Centering the lived experiences of those affected by the criminal legal system allows us to craft solutions rooted in the realities of those closest to the challenges we seek to solve.

Humanity

We believe each person is inherently worthy and deserving of a life unburdened by their past experiences with the criminal legal system. Civil Survival is committed to creating a space where all people are shown compassion and respect and are valued for their inherent dignity and potential.

What Makes Us Unique

Collage of Civil Survival staff actively supporting each other and their community. Two people are wearing Civil Survival shirts and a third is wearing a "Free the Vote" shirt.

Our uniqueness lies in our foundation. Civil Survival is led by individuals who have personally navigated the criminal legal system. As an organization, Civil Survival is committed to centering the voices of those most impacted by incarceration. At every level of the organization, from leadership to our dedicated team, most have lived through the system’s challenges. This depth of personal experience informs every aspect of our work, allowing us to pioneer innovative approaches to serve our community.

What We Offer

light skinned man in a civil survival shirt in front of a giant Sunflower

Game Changer Meetings

Join us every Monday night to learn how to get involved in the legislative process, practice how to testify for bills, and get connected with impacted individuals + families.

Class room full of people at desks.

Legal Assistance + Resources

We currently are working through our waitlist and are at capacity to assist clients directly. For now, we encourage you to check out the self-help options and resources.

Photograph of the Civil Survival team, featuring nine members huddled together on top of a tower at Islandwood Park on Bainbridge Island. The group is posing for a photo, showcasing unity and teamwork. The tower and surroundings suggest a scenic outdoor location

Job + Internship Opportunities

Visit our job board where we post job and internship opportunities from community partners who are second chance employers. These employers give ALL individuals a fair shot.

Get Involved with Game Changers

Every Monday, we gather system-impacted people to build community, support each other, learn more about resources in the community, and how to impact system change through legislative advocacy.

Upcoming Events

Two women one standing, talking and the other is sitting.

Our Impact

  • 200+ people helped through our Reentry Legal Aid Program (RLAP)
  • 750+ cases taken on by our attorneys including LFO relief and criminal record vacates
  • 120 currently incarcerated individuals at Pierce + Kitsap County Jail registered to vote
  • 200 clients served during National Expungement Week