Working to Shrink the Criminal Justice System And Create A World With Dignity

Our system of policing and mass incarceration is deeply flawed and intractably racist. How we address these issues—how we shrink a sprawling system that serves little measurable crime-reducing purpose but causes substantial harm to individuals, family members, and communities—is not an easy question. The Wren Collective is a team of former public defenders with deep technical, research, and communications expertise who help individuals and organizations achieve the changes they seek to criminal justice and policing.

This Is A Critical Juncture
In American History 

Today, activists, reformers, voters, and elected officials are recognizing that our criminal legal system and its singular pursuit of punishment is a failed experiment. Where criticisms of policing tactics and culture were once dismissed as radical or fringe ideas, public opinion has shifted. We must take advantage of the widespread passion, energy, and commitment to reconstruct our criminal legal system so that it respects the humanity and dignity of all those it touches. Instead of the same old policies and tired rhetoric that has never worked, we must instead think about how to respond to violence, crime, and victimization in a way that actually addresses, rather than perpetuates, trauma and builds up communities.

Image by Teemu Paananen

Our Commitment

The Wren Collective is committed to providing research, policy, and communications expertise. We almost always work behind the scenes to assist leaders, including elected officials, grassroots organizers, as well as athletes and public figures. We aim to equip people who are leading the movement to transform our criminal legal system with the technical assistance they need to make their demands as efficacious as possible. Our experience as former public defenders and researchers means that we are policy developers, storytellers, and relentless fighters on behalf of those most impacted by the criminal legal system. Over and over, we have seen policies fail people in real-time. We understand whom those policies have injured and the extent of the harm, and we know that, if we are to shrink our system of mass incarceration and reshape how we think about accountability and safety, radical change is necessary.

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