Our nation thrives when it has strong communities. So why is the United States weakening communities by locking up more people than any country on earth? Harsh sentences for even modest offenses are breaking up families and destroying human potential, with the poor and people of color bearing the brunt of the system's impact. Meanwhile, community-based solutions such as rehabilitation, education, and job opportunity have proved to be both cheaper for taxpayers and better at stopping crime.
Beyond Bars is a media campaign that aims to inform and engage the public on mass incarceration. As part of the national movement for criminal justice reform, we have taken on the role of producing short videos and using social media to promote fairer, more cost-effective approaches to public safety. Much of our work is done in partnership with reform organizations across the country. By working to transform Americans’ hearts and minds, we help foster policies that are more about community and less about incarceration.
Susan Burton, A New Way of Life / All of Us or None
Neill Franklin, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Vanita Gupta, American Civil Liberties Union
Glenn Martin, Fortune Society
Marc Mauer, Sentencing Project
Pat Nolan, Prison Fellowship
David Rogers, Partnership for Safety & Justice
Jesse Lava, Campaign Director. Jesse conceptualized and runs the Beyond Bars campaign to curb mass incarceration. His work includes strategic planning, producing videos, writing articles, and forging partnerships with groups working to make a positive difference in this field. Previously a political campaign staffer and communications strategist for progressive causes, his work has covered an array of policy areas including climate change, campaign finance, drug treatment, and funding for social services. Jesse was also the founding director of Faithful Democrats, a group that worked to reclaim the national values debate from the Religious Right. He has a master's in public policy from Harvard and a bachelor's in government from Wesleyan University. You can contact him at jesse [at] bravenewfoundation [dot] org.
Jordan Melograna, Producer/Editor. After graduating from the filmmaking program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Jordan has spent a decade working in television, independent film, and documentaries in locations across the United States, Canada, the Middle East, and Asia. As an independent producer, director, and editor in Los Angeles, he has focused on producing media for local and national nonprofits and is excited to continue that work as a member of the Beyond Bars team.
Brittany Washington, Associate Producer/Editor. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Brittany has an array of creative work behind her. She was on her first set at fifteen and has been behind the camera for over a decade. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas-Austin, majoring in directing and editing. It was there she honed her craft of visual storytelling. As an independent director and editor, Brittany explored the narrative world and her love of short-form storytelling through music videos and short films. New to Los Angeles, Brittany has since shifted her focus to short-form documentary storytelling, discovering that truth truly is stranger than fiction.
Will Melton, Social Media Associate. William cut his teeth on social media while working at FunnyOrDie.com on viral marketing campaigns just as the word “viral” was entering popular vocabulary. Since then, he has lectured on social media for the St. Louis chapter of the World Affairs Council and at a variety of universities and colleges. Most recently, William was the web editor for the Riverfront Times, which is an alt weekly in the Village Voice MediaFamily. William earned his master’s degree in media communications and international relations.
Robert Greenwald, Founder & President of Brave New Foundation. Robert Greenwald is a producer, director, and political activist. He is the director/producer of several documentaries: Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers (2006), Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005), and Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism (2004). He also executive produced a trilogy of political documentaries: Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (2002); Uncovered: The Iraq War (2003), which Greenwald also directed; and Unconstitutional (2004).
Jim Miller, Executive Director of Brave New Foundation. Jim joined the organization during its founding by putting together a coalition of over 100 groups (including Amnesty International, MoveOn, True Majority, and Voters For Peace) to push our unique system of distribution and house screenings for Iraq For Sale. Since then, Jim has strengthened our distribution coalition so that our short videos now get over 1.5 million views per month. His film experience began over 20 years ago working on Bull Durham and includes being the Director of Development for The Shooting Gallery, an independent film company which produced Sling Blade and You Can Count on Me, and Head of Acquisitions for Cinema Park Distribution. Immediately prior to BNF, Jim produced the star-studded "Les Girls" charity benefits for the National Breast Cancer Coalition.
Linsey Pecikonis, Communications Director of Brave New Foundation. Linsey comes to BNF with a decade of communication experience and as a strong advocate for justice. Prior to becoming BNF's communication director, she was the communications director at Democracy for America, Gov. Howard Dean's Political Action Committee working to protect American workers in Wisconsin and most recently electing a more progressive Congress. She has worked crafting press strategies for a variety of groups and issues including immigration rights, LGBT rights, Labor issues, and the impact of climate change on our environment. Linsey lives in Los Angeles with her partner Nicky alongside their cluster of cats and dogs.
Beyond Bars is a project of Brave New Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by filmmaker Robert Greenwald. BNF's mission is to champion social justice issues by using short videos and other media to inspire, empower, motivate, and teach civic participation.