True justice offers healing, hope and opportunity for growth.

Our goal is one just system in Los Angeles County:
centered on strong communities and practical resources, not prisons.

 

One just system holds people accountable when laws are broken, and holds itself accountable for responding in ways that increase safety and prevent future crimes. Care is taken to understand the circumstances of every child and adult in the system. People are treated equitably without regard to wealth or race. Legal representation is fair. Consequences are compassionate and designed to develop potential, with incarceration used only as a last resort. One just system counts every person’s well-being as a measure of the whole community’s health, and looks to communities first for solutions.

Justice systems across the U.S. have bypassed these principles. Currently, the system in LA County stands out nationally for its problems. At JMLF, we believe in LA County’s potential to develop one just system and become a different kind of leader—in a movement toward true justice nationwide.

 

JMLF Priorities

End racial discrimination. Racial discrimination is demonstrated vividly in justice systems across the country. Black and brown communities see disproportionate arrests and prosecutions, harsher sentences, brutal conditions in prison, and reduced opportunities upon release. Low-income communities endure much of the same treatment. In LA County, discrimination amounts to two segregated justice systems: one with an exit for those who are wealthy and/or perceived as white, and one with only an entrance, and no exit, for almost everyone else. We need one just system.
Vastly reduce incarceration. Jail sentences have become an assumption in our judicial system, even for people who pose no danger to the public. Inflexible sentencing, enhancements, and a prison-centered system steals parents from children for minor offences, robs families of people they love, deprives neighborhoods of economic and social contributions, and denies any lasting resolution for people who have been hurt by crime. In many situations, the outcomes from incarcerating someone increase rather than reduce crime. We need just solutions based on this reality, not on fear.
Understand trauma and its consequences. Many people who commit crimes have survived situations or witnessed events no one should have to experience. These traumas often start early, are aggravated in multiple situations, and then intensified by deprivation and abuse within the criminal justice system. We need to let go of punitive frameworks and help traumatized people move forward in healthy ways.
Treat mental illness and addiction. One just system provides appropriate care for people living with mental illness and addiction. Many people in prison are effectively punished for having a disease, when proper, community-based treatment would offer a chance to live a healthy life without being confined. We need more prevention and treatment resources, not more jails.
Invest in young people. A punitive system effectively gives up on children while they’re still maturing, often based on behaviors that traditionally would be handled at the family, community, teacher or school level, not by police. We need the chance to reach our most vulnerable children when they’re open to great change, and give them opportunities to succeed.

The best advice we’ve been given comes from the people most impacted by justice system failures—those who are behind bars or have been incarcerated. We’re listening as they build a framework for true justice along with their families, communities and activists; often working together with people who have been hurt by crimes. Our role is to learn from their stories and strategies, stand beside them, and offer support that’s informed by their experience.

We’re beginning this work in our local community because the Los Angeles County criminal justice system is marked by some of the most extreme discrimination and abuses in the U.S. We believe people who are imprisoned are as much a part of our community as our best-respected leaders. We’re working toward a community-centered justice system where people have a chance to restore themselves to self-worth, health, family, the economy, democracy and our common heart.

Current Grants

JMLF supports 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations working toward one true justice in Los Angeles County. In 2016, we made grants to nine organizations:

Previous Grants

 
As JMLF finds its footing in this new-to-us field, we are not accepting unsolicited requests for support. Please conserve your resources by understanding we are only able to review invited inquiries and proposals at this time.
 

Featured Issues

As JMLF continues to learn, we’ll keep sharing content and voices that inform, inspire and challenge us. We may not necessarily agree with every opinion that’s expressed—but we think it’s important to hear those ideas too.

  • “We all deserve a second chance”
    Hear how Jayda’s experience in prison motivates her work at Dignity & Power Now: “I feel it’s my duty to be the voice for those ‘inside’ because, for so long, I wasn’t heard.”
  • Building peace in the streets
    Watch Youth Justice Coalition members take action, calling for an end to violence and for investment in youth instead of incarceration.
  • How ordinary students end up in jail
    Learn how minor offenses that once landed you in the principal’s office can now actually lead to your arrest—and how Black students are getting harsher punishment that their white peers for doing the same things.
  • The true cost of incarceration
    Read the analysis: While government spends billions to lock people away, fines, legal expenses, lost income and other costs are locking prisoners’ families into poverty and debt.
  • “I haven’t been under a tree for 25 years.”
    Share the ride home and first day of freedom with a man just released from prison, along with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition volunteer who’s helping him adjust.
  • Jay Z: ‘The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail’
    Why are white men poised to get rich doing the same thing African-Americans have been going to prison for?

About JMLF

John M. Lloyd established JMLF in 1991. For the next 23 years we supported local and, eventually, national and global groups working to end the AIDS pandemic. We’d entered the field at a tipping point in the U.S. As we watched, a broad movement began to win over entrenched cultural fears and systemic discrimination.

If you are interested in JMLF’s history of HIV/AIDS work
please visit our archived website

In 2014 we recognized another issue with critical momentum: replacing a broken, prison-centered, discriminatory criminal justice system. A strong kinship exists between this opportunity and our early work on HIV/AIDS. Once again, we reject a system that isolates, stigmatizes, and fails the people it’s charged with healing; and work toward supporting people in their communities. We want our culture to change so people no longer look the other way—so they respond as if the life of their own child, friend, partner or loved one is directly involved.

John Lloyd created JMLF to seek solutions to the AIDS epidemic. He believed medical knowledge existed to alleviate the crisis, but he also saw that a lack of wisdom, compassion and common sense were barriers to decisive action. He responded by putting his own energy and money to work for people living with AIDS.

As a boy growing up in Libertyville, Illinois, John said he wanted to leave the world a better place than he found it. He sought to reverse the root causes of problems rather than just treating their symptoms. He worked at an inner-city community housing project. He taught meditation techniques. He graduated from Taft School and the University of Illinois, and worked as a commodities broker and investment manager. In 1990, he married Heidi Mage.

Early in 1991, John passed away due to complications of AIDS. He had lived out his own wisdom, compassion and common sense, always with a sense of humor. He dedicated everything he had to making a positive impact on his world.

We remember John with love and are energized to carry his legacy forward.

The JMLF staff and board of directors are inspired by everyone who is working toward
one just system.