Our work at the Innocence Project is guided by science and grounded in anti-racism. Over the past 30 years, we have repeatedly seen how racial bias contributes to the wrongful incarceration of people of color. Read more about our racial justice work here.
To advance racial justice throughout the criminal legal system, we must also live the values we seek to advance. Strengthening our internal culture, empowering our extraordinary staff, and honoring their diversity and expertise are necessary to advance our work, deepen our impact, and, ultimately, accomplish our mission.
As of September 2022, 60% of our staff identify as people of color. 66% of our senior leadership team identify as people of color, 48% of our supervisors identify as people of color, and 38% of our department heads who lead the various arms of our work identify as people of color. We regularly partner with leaders in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism spaces on staff and leadership education, coaching, and programming. Some of our most recent engagements include:
- Working with Perception Institute, a research and advocacy consortium, we launched a year-long series of connection circles to build relationships across lines of identity, and skill-build for empathic communication. Perception Institute has also brought in sessions for our board on implicit bias and structural racism.
- Together with a management consulting and training firm DeEtta Jones & Associates, we launched the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racist Leadership Forum for the senior leadership team and department heads with the purpose of building a stronger understanding of equity and anti-racist leadership practices.
- Partnering with Candida Brooks-Harrison of Village Enrichment, we do regular system/structure enrichment using a Race, Diversity and Intersectionality (RDI) framework. Candida has also provided training on Reflective Process and Intersectional Identities to all staff, and advanced workshops for the internal DEI committee and our leadership teams.
We conduct regular race and gender equity audits of employee compensation, and we’ve made a commitment to compensate our employees at at least the 75th percentile of our competitive market (meaning compensating higher than at least 75% of comparable organizations.) For our entry-level roles, we’ve made a commitment to paying even higher at 95% of the competitive market, in order to ensure an ethical living wage to our employees in those job bands.
Our internal DEI Committee has been central in guiding our commitment to inclusion and anti-racism. The committee:
- Nurtures a diverse, inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist workplace, and a sense of belonging for all employees. Some initiatives include supporting the various affinity groups within the IP, and holding community-processing spaces when external events in the world around us have a significant impact on staff and particularly marginalized groups.
- Is an equity thought partner with human resources on policies and practices.
- Supports organizational education/training initiatives in areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion and anti-racism.
- Fosters an open dialogue with the leadership team about our collective workplace challenges with oppression, inequities, or microaggressions that occur in the workplace, and elevates systemic concerns.
We continually review policies and practices to ensure we are attracting diverse talent, that our consultants and vendors reflect our commitment to DEIAR, and that the values of our workplace are understood by potential partners and staff.