Criminal Justice Reform

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Criminal Justice Reform

The freedom to work, live, and thrive

FFL’s work began by zeroing in on the systemic factors that once made Louisiana the most carceral state in the country. Today, President and CEO Charmel Gaulden brings expertise in community safety and criminal legal system reform to continue this legacy. 

Gaulden’s expertise dates back to work early in her career developing policy and designing trainings at a substance abuse prevention center in South Carolina, where she also served on the National Crime Prevention Council. Known for her innovative grantmaking and leadership in this sector, she previously served as the co-chair of the Greater New Orleans Funders Network (GNOFN) criminal justice action table, a collection of seven local and national funders working to support equity and justice in the Greater New Orleans region. Charmel is a civil rights attorney licensed in both Georgia and Louisiana.

FFL’s criminal justice reform work is rooted in the legacy of abolition movements that have existed in Louisiana for hundreds of years. Our work aims to shift resources away from systems that diminish our humanity and towards the things that build it. 

Currently, our portfolio is focused on working in coalition to end the money bail system, supporting organizations focused on divestment from policing, and elevating the leadership of individuals and communities with lived experience.

A note on the term “criminal justice” – At FFL, we know the system we have right now is devoid of justice, and what is often most feasible is reform. We are committed to liberatory work that keeps more of our neighbors in community. But we also know that if we want true justice, we need a new system.

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The Criminal Justice Reform Program aims for long-term policy and structural change. We achieve this by investing in organizations focused on police reform, building decarceral movements and transforming systems of public safety.



Investments of this portfolio work to stop the state-sanctioned trauma and violence that disproportionately impact poor people of color. Post Katrina, grants from the Foundation made the formation of the office of Independent Police Monitor possible. In 2016, FFL mobilized immediate support for those on the frontlines protesting the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge.

To lean more about Criminal Justice Reform grantees, see our Who We’ve Funded page



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