One of DJ+DS’s greatest achievements is Restore Oakland. An initiative in East Oakland with the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, Restore Oakland will be the first restorative justice and restorative economics center in the country. Expected to open in March 2019, it will include a restaurant and a job-training center for under-resourced people of color to secure food industry jobs and to avoid re-entering the criminal justice system or entering it in the first place.
DJ+DS is also changing the way people and communities think about architecture and design. For example, in collaboration with San Francisco’s Women’s County Jail, DJ+DS developed a prototype of a mobile women’s shelter. Utilizing donated city buses, the Women’s Resource Bus will provide a safe space for women after they are released from jail, often in the middle of the night—a critical moment to provide supportive services to reduce recidivism.
The organization deeply engages community members in its design process. For instance, DJ+DS facilitated a five-day workshop with 60 women at a jail in San Francisco to develop the resource bus design. To enable this collaboration, the organization developed a design tool for working with people who are incarcerated.
Surdna’s partnership with DJ+DS has been mutually beneficial—enabling DJ+DS to tackle systemic challenges facing communities and furthering Surdna’s efforts to build field capacity, spark innovative ideas, and connect stakeholders.
Together, we envision a world without prisons—not more attractive ones—a world where our built environment counteracts the root causes of mass incarceration and fosters rehabilitation instead of recidivism.