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, with Andrea Ritchie, Dean Spade, Aisha Moodie Mills, Catherine Hanssens.  Convening and consultations resulted in a report called A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People living with HIV, and published by Columbia Law School Center for Gender and Sexuality Law.  From 2015-2017, the Working Group was fiscally sponsored by Just Detention. From late 2017 to early 2019, the Working Group was fiscally sponsored by the National Center for Civic Innovation.  In spring of 2019, the Working Group became a program of Black & Pink.

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 collaborate on these shared goals to advance harm reduction, reform and transformative strategies.  Members participate through in-person or phone-based meetings held throughout the year.  The Working Group has operate through issue-specific subgroups focused on, 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.