National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group

The National LGBT/HIV  Criminal Justice Working Group (hereafter the Working Group) is a network of nearly 50 organizations and individual stakeholders working to reduce the unique harms of the U.S. criminal legal system experienced by LGBTQ+ people, PLHIV or those at risk of acquiring HIV, through research, education, and policy advocacy at the federal level. Recognizing that the vast majority of LGBTQ+ people and PLHIV adversely affected by the criminal legal system are people of color and/or low income, the Working Group is committed to approaching issues of policing, punishment and criminalization through a racial, economic and reproductive justice framework.

The Working Group was launched in 2014 after an 18-month participatory policy development process initiated by Urvashi Vaid.  The process produced A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People living with HIV, a report authored by Catherine Hanssens, Aisha-Moodie Mills, Andrea Ritchie, Dean Spade and Urvashi Vaid, and published by Columbia Law School Center for Gender and Sexuality Law.

The Working Group provides a structure for organizations with common goals related to LGBT/HIV criminal justice policy to share resources/intelligence/contacts, to communicate, and to o collaborate on these shared goals to advance harm reduction, reform and transformative strategies.  More than 120 advocates are members of the Working Group and participate through in-person or phone-based meetings held throughout the year.  The Working Group holds monthly membership calls by phone, and quarterly meetings in person.  The quarterly in-person meetings are in Washington, DC and regularly include ancillary meetings to conduct advocacy.  It operates through eleven issue-specific subgroups including, among others, conditions of confinement/corrections, juvenile justice, HIV criminalization, policing and law enforcement,  leadership of formerly incarcerated persons, immigration detention, sex offender registry reform, reentry and poverty, and sex workers’ rights.

Resources & Reports

To best ensure that organizers on the ground have the necessary tools, we have worked to collect as many resources and tools as we could to strengthen movements and campaigns to end the harm inflicted by the criminal legal system upon LGBTQ people and People Living with HIV.

Get involved! Learn more! Join a subgroup!

The Working Group is made up of many subgroups, each working on issue areas that impact the lives of LGBTQ and HIV positive people within the criminal legal system. Each subgroup works on specific projects, builds connections across organizations, and offers strategies for affecting the most change in the areas they are working. New members of the subgroups are always welcome. The following a is a list of the subgroups and links to more information and resources dedicated to each issue area.