Yesterday evening I was one of the co-hosts of a reception for the Prison Policy Initiative. It was a great event with Executive Director Peter Wagner speaking alongside Joseph "Jazz" Hayden and Mark Dubnoff.
Wagner spoke about his innovative work on census policy and felony disenfranchisement. Hayden spoke about his 15 years of work to overturn felony disenfranchisement laws. Dubnoff spoke about being pro bono counsel in Simmons v. Galvin—the case challenging the constitutional amendment adopted by Massachusetts in 2000 to deprive convicted felons of their right to vote.
For the last two years, PPI was sustained by Executive Director Peter Wagner's Soros Fellowship. When the fellowship ran out last spring, Wagner just kept working on his projects, unpaid, but also set himself the task of finding a fiscal sponsor that could accept donations for PPI once it incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Both Hayden and Dubnoff testified to the fact that a wide range of people who work on prisoners' issues have come to rely on the work that PPI does. Hayden traveled from New York City in order to support the cause.
(Image via Prison Policy Initiative.)