Civil Survival organizes people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to build connections, gain knowledge and increase political participation as we work to remove barriers experienced during re-entry.


Civil Survival envisions a world free from mass incarceration, where people are valued as inherently worthy. We envision a world where people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system have the supports and skills necessary to build lives as fully participating citizens, and directly impacted people have a key role in developing policies that impact them and their communities.


  1. Accessibility: Our strength is in our stories, the variety of our life experiences, and our identities. We embrace creative and innovative ways of organizing to ensure inclusivity of impacted people. Our learning and liberation centers this demand: “Nothing About Us Without Us.”
  2. Equity: All people should have what they need to participate fully in community. We confront the barriers to liberation—institutional, interpersonal, and internalized – that justice-involved people face. We acknowledge and address the ways in which our intersectional identities impact our experiences of mass incarceration, the justice system, and the political process. We commit ourselves to understanding and uprooting colonialism, white supremacy, misogyny, ableism, and institutional racism.
  3. Dignity: All are worthy. The work of ending mass incarceration is also the work of restoration, to learn and promote humanization, de-stigmatization, and self-definition, as we build a sense of purpose and accountability.
  4. Empowerment: Our lived experience is our strength, our stories matter. When we share them and are witnessed, we serve as advocates and contribute to more liberating and sustainable models of accountability and justice. We are people with an infinite capacity to grow.
  5. Interdependence: Our success is dependent upon each other. Collective learning, organizing, and liberation are central to our work. We seek self-determination not in isolation or individual advancement but within a sense of belonging and accountability to each other.
  6. Community: We work to build authentic relationships, and community with system players and impacted people. We create spaces and opportunities where impacted people and voices are centered and valued.
  7. Justice: We want all people to receive just behavior or treatment. “a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people”. We want equity, lack of bias, lack of prejudice, and accountability in the systems that govern and hold us accountable.