Florida State University Project on Accountable Justice — General Support

Award Date 
2/2015
Grant Amount 
$100,000
Purpose 
To support the Florida State University Project on Accountable Justice.
Topic (focus area) 

Published: March 2015

Staff at Florida State University Project on Accountable Justice (PAJ) reviewed this page prior to publication.

Note: This page was created using content published by Good Ventures and GiveWell, the organizations that created the Open Philanthropy Project, before this website was launched. Uses of “we” and “our” on this page may therefore refer to Good Ventures or GiveWell, but they still represent the work of the Open Philanthropy Project.

Good Ventures awarded a grant of $100,000 over one year to the Florida State University Project on Accountable Justice, via the Florida State University Foundation. This grant is part of the Open Philanthropy Project’s ongoing exploration of criminal justice reform as a potential focus area.

The Florida State University Project on Accountable Justice (PAJ) aims to “advance public safety through evidence-based practices and policies in Florida and beyond.”1

PAJ was recommended to us by Steve Teles, a political science professor at Johns Hopkins who has written about the philanthropic origins of the conservative legal movement and has been working for us as a consultant.2 Early in our explorations of criminal justice reform, we were looking for giving opportunities, and Professor Teles interviewed PAJ and recommended that we fund them. Based largely on Professor Teles’ recommendation, Good Ventures has decided to make an unrestricted $100,000 one year grant to PAJ.

PAJ shared a number of documents with us in the process of considering this grant (the versions linked below have been lightly edited prior to publication to protect private information):

The basic reasoning for this grant is that PAJ has a strong and well-connected leader, which makes the organization well positioned to promote criminal justice reform in Florida, which represents approximately 6.5 percent of the total U.S. prison population.3 PAJ’s chairman, Allison DeFoor, has played many roles inside and outside of the Florida criminal justice system.4 According to Steve Teles, DeFoor knows many of the key decision-makers in Florida, and is well-positioned to make progress on this issue. Additionally, PAJ has limited funding from other sources: their 2015 fiscal year revenue, excluding this grant, is projected to be $122,300.5

PAJ’s top priority is to bring the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) to Florida. This will eventually require legislation or an executive order. As part of that process, the organization envisions engaging in a variety of research and policy projects, which may entail budget and policy analysis, publishing newsletters, and targeted outreach with key stakeholders. In addition, PAJ will continue to push for external oversight and monitoring of all correctional facilities, systemic performance measurement, and reduction of overly punitive policies for juveniles.6

We anticipate conducting relatively limited follow-up on this grant, most likely consisting of a phone calls with PAJ leadership every 2-3 months for the course of the grant and a brief writeup on progress at the end of the one year period.

PAJ is administratively housed at the Florida Institute of Government at Florida State University, and the grant to support them will be facilitated by Florida State University Foundation, FSU’s fundraising arm.

Sources

Document Source
Carson 2014 Source (archive)
GiveWell’s non-verbatim summary of a conversation with Steve Teles on June 13, 2013 Source
PAJ Homepage Source (archive)
PAJ 2014-15 Budget Source
PAJ Proposal May 2014 Source
PAJ SWOT Analysis Source