Explanations From Exile is a multimedia, multidimensional organization committed to elevating the discourse surrounding urban trauma, urban violence and mass incarceration. Our innovative approach to addressing these complex issues harnesses a diverse range of media channels, including written content, data, and visual storytelling, with the aim of making this crucial information accessible to a broad audience. This approach not only educates but also encourages empathy, deepening the understanding of the complex web of interconnected factors that underlie these problems. Our goal is to empower individuals, communities, and policymakers with the necessary knowledge to drive informed discussions and transformative solutions to these critical challenges.
The Explanations From Exile Project (E.F.E.) started as a storytelling initiative at Norfolk prison in Massachusetts in 2016. The project was inspired by the truth telling process that restorative justice programming facilitated between survivors and persons incarcerated for violent crime. In 2020, E.F.E. joined forces with the African-American Coalition Committee (A.A.C.C.) to address the devastating impact that violence and incarceration have had on communities of color.
Violence plays a role in the incarceration of two-thirds of America's state prison population. Given this reality, ending mass incarceration requires that we confront the overwhelming presence of violence in American society and the racial disparities present within our systems of punishment. To that end, E.F.E is committed to creating space for people who experience and enact violence, particularly in urban areas, in order to create critical dialogue about what justice is for Black people and other people of color.
The project is by no means a platform for parties who have enacted harm to justify the injuries they have inflicted on the community. Rather, our goal is to offer access to the complex truths behind the violent decisions made by this demographic. In doing so, we hope to provide answers, insight, and some measure of healing to survivors and communities impacted by urban violence.
The mission of the Explanations From Exile Project is to promote transformative processes and polices which facilitate accountability, healing, and informed justice as it pertains to urban violence.
Through engagement with survivors, responsible parties, and community stakeholders, our aim is to highlight the impact of urban violence and the common correlates between exposure to, and perpetration of community violence in communities where it is most prevalent.
To eradicate mass incarceration by significantly reducing the imprisonment of persons convicted of violent offenses.
Effect policy which allows for restorative justice practices to serve as sentence deferment/mitigant in violent cases for those who qualify.
Effect policy which requires the criminal legal system to acknowledge inner-city individuals accused of violence as a special class (similar to juveniles, war vets, and survivors of domestic abuse).
Effect policy which examines the mental health/trauma history of individuals accused of violent offences at the front end of criminal prosecution.
Advocate pretrial restorative justice practices which facilitate healing, resilience, and empathy between responsible parties and harmed parties — including cases where loss of life has occurred.