Three startups disrupting the prison industry were awarded $250,000 each as part of Dream.Org’s Justice Innovation Prize at SOCAP23.
San Francisco, Calif. - October 24, 2023 - Today, Dream.Org awarded $750,000 in grants to three winners of its Justice Innovation Prize to support efforts to disrupt the prison industry.
Each of the five finalists for the award presented their ideas in front of an esteemed selection committee and a live audience at the social impact investing conference SOCAP23. The committee evaluated the finalists based on the potential for their programs to reduce recidivism through education, rehabilitation, job support, or other tech-based resources. The three winners, which received $250,000 each, are:
- FreeCap Financial, Inc. - Washington, D.C. - a justice-oriented data company that is increasing corporate accountability and transparency for investors who are against supporting companies that directly or indirectly contribute to mass incarceration.
- JusticeText - Irvine, CA - an audiovisual evidence management software that generates automated transcripts of body camera footage, interrogation videos, jail calls, and more
- Unlocked Labs - St. Louis, MO - a tech startup that designs learning management systems for people in prison
“We are incredibly honored to receive this award and to have had the opportunity to present our case for disrupting the prison system alongside so many other innovative organizations at SOCAP23. We’re eager to put this prize money to work to produce better outcomes for people who are or have been incarcerated,” the three finalists shared in a joint statement.
“We too often fixate on all the division and polarization in our world, and fail to see how many innovative problem-solvers there are out there,” said Nisha Anand, CEO of Dream.Org. “Our approach at Dream.Org is to give a voice to the people who have been hit first and worst by big societal problems. We know that the lived experiences of these individuals inspire great ideas for powerful solutions. And when they join forces with unlikely allies, real systemic change can happen. This Justice Innovation Prize is a game-changer. The incredible talent and determination of our finalists embodies who Dream.Org is—a home for changemakers.”
“Our prison system locks up too many people, treats people horribly, costs too much, and fails at every level. Technology is transforming our world, but we are stuck using a 200 year old approach to prisons,” said Janos Marton, Chief Advocacy Officer at Dream.Org. “Our three winners represent the millions of Americans with direct experience of this broken system, and they have come up with brilliant, innovative ideas to change it. We look forward to working with them and other Justice Innovation partners to disrupt the prison industry.”
In January 2023, Dream.Org received a $1 million grant to help identify, promote, and support innovative approaches to disrupting the prison industry called the Justice Innovation Prize. All five program finalists, including the three winners along with Just Income GNV and Creative Acts, received $50,000 in preparation to present their ideas in front of live audiences at SOCAP23. The three winners were announced during an award ceremony this morning.
Dream.Org works to make the American dream a reality - for all of us. We close prison doors and open doors of opportunity. We bring people together across racial, social, and partisan lines to create a future with freedom, dignity, and opportunity for all. Learn more at Dream.Org.
Director of Communications