Join the MovementLiberate: Advocate for policy change.
Educate: Inform & Empower
Outside Prison – Workshops
Civil Survival conducts half-day and all-day workshops for groups of 30 – 40. Participants include FJIs, their friends and families, community partners, elected officials, and allies. Upon release, individuals can immediately attend a workshop. In this way, Civil Survival provides a continuity of engagement that helps cushion the reentry process.
State, regional, and local elected officials attend each workshop. Participants have the opportunity to tell these officials their personal stories and to describe the burdens of reentry.
These stories — once a source of shame — become a source of power that drives policy change. Stories are used to change the faces of FJIs and to develop relationships between FJIs and government officials. These relationships form the basis for further collaborative efforts to change the policies that impede reentry.
The energy and insight from every workshop is sustained through ongoing, local Game Changer Groups.
Inside Prison – Curriculum
Civil Survival has developed a basic legal concepts and life skills curriculum for use inside prisons. The curriculum is designed to reduce recidivism by providing FJIs the practical tools and information they need upon release to successfully navigate and integrate into the “outside” world.
The curriculum covers:
- Access to resources (housing, healthcare, child care) in the government, non-profit and private sectors.
- Obtaining and maintaining employment
- Financial literacy
- Legal rights and civil engagement (voting, advocacy, and public service).
Motivate: Turn Shame Into Power
Outside Prison – Game Changer Groups
Game Changer Groups (GCGs) are local gatherings that are run and led by FJIs. They usually meet once or twice a month. GCGs are open to all, even those who have not attended a workshop.
The hands-on work of Civil Survival takes place in the GCGs. Civil Survival supports these groups to target housing, employment, legal financial obligations (LFOs), or family laws, ordinances, and upcoming legislation that impact FJIs. This focus encourages and supports GCG members to advocate for policy changes before city and county councils and to testify before state legislators.
Game Changer members also “spread the word” to the broader community by attending and participating in local events. GCG members serve on the Governor’s Statewide Reentry Council; they have staffed Civil Survival booths and information stands at Seattle Pride, Juneteenth, Umojafest and other community festivals and events; and they have presented at the statewide 2016 Reentry Summer Institute and the 2016 Washington State Labor Council Annual Convention.
Inside Prison – Advocacy
Civil Survival seeks to improve the quality of life of prisoners and their families. It does so by advocating for changes in procedures and policies that affect the everyday lives of the incarcerated. Civil Survival pursues issues such as access to necessary health care, time with family members, and provision of reentry skills, and information deemed most urgent by those inside and by their respective friends and families.
Liberate: Engage in the System
Civil Survival promotes liberation through its work to remove the laws and policies that negatively impact formerly justice involved individuals (FJIs). Areas of focus include: court fee reform, housing access, and better employment opportunities through “ban-the-box” legislation. Members participate in public reform projects, and reentry councils and coalition committees.
Civil Survival also serves as a convener of organizations and individuals interested in improving the lives of FJIs. By bringing together and promoting collaboration, Civil Survival seeks to build a powerful movement that promotes change locally, regionally, and nationally.
Civil Survival’s ultimate goal is to enable FJIs to “come out of the closet” and be open participants in private organizations and public office.