The Appeal Mission

The Appeal’s goal is to produce excellent, investigative journalism that propels the criminal justice reform movement forward — and our movement journalism has never been more critically important than right now. We are in the middle of a crisis. The policies and politics of mass incarceration have devastated the lives of millions of Americans. We are living in a time where crime, and especially violent crime, is near record lows, yet we continue to be the world’s leading jailer. Too often, so-called “objective” journalism has served to bolster this ongoing crisis, helping to codify and justify the politics of mass incarceration.

The antidote is The Appeal — aggressive, powerful, accountable movement journalism that shines a light on the local criminal justice systems, and players, that for far too long have not received the scrutiny they deserve. Like climate change, mass incarceration is real and we don’t pretend otherwise. Moreover, mass incarceration is not merely a set of practices, but also a politics that must be described with particular attention to the people whose actions and interests sustain it. We will deliver that scrutiny through our powerful movement journalism — a journalism practice that uncovers and disseminates critical information, shapes and advances public dialogue, and tells the stories of underrepresented people and struggles.

Being housed at, and a part of, The Justice Collaborative puts us in an ideal position to do this important work.. That’s because we get to be in conversation with some of the country’s most knowledgeable experts on the criminal legal system -- people who come from careers as defenders, prosecutors, academia, and journalism. And we, in turn, get to contribute our ideas and our stories to the dialogue and together — in our own lanes — expose the truth about the politics of mass incarceration.

We are not radicals. The radicals are those who crafted the draconian policies and systems that have done so much harm to so many people and that we now expose to sunlight. We, at The Appeal, are the vanguard. We are at the forefront of both journalism and this movement to end mass incarceration. We are producing the journalism of today that will change the world of tomorrow.