How the Transformational Prison Project is Advancing Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice | Social Change LeadersSocial Change Leaders | Fiscal Sponsorship

Armand Coleman (third from left), Executive Director of the Transformational Prison Project, a fiscally sponsored project of Tides Center, with three men from the program's leadership team.
The Transformational Prison Project, a restorative justice organization, partnered with Tides to access the operational infrastructure it needed to address harms and strengthen the communities most impacted by the prison system.


The traditional prison system is punitive and biased, using harsh disciplinary measures that often disproportionately target BIPOC communities and exacerbate violence. Founded in 2013, the Transformational Prison Project (TPP) believes that healing and empathy — not punishment — will break the cycle of systemic violence many of these communities experience. 

TPP brings together people who’ve caused harm and people who’ve experienced it, fostering an environment of accountability and forgiveness. The organization aims to: 

  • Provide space for those who have caused harm to understand their own trauma and connect with survivors of the crimes to make amends and heal
  • Address individual and systemic harms that lead to violence by offering community trainings, healing circles, and youth programming
  • Establish employment opportunities and trauma-informed services for formerly incarcerated individuals

Tides Solution: Fiscal Sponsorship

TPP partnered with Tides through a fiscal sponsorship, which offers the comprehensive operational infrastructure to power its impactful work. TPP chose Tides for our shared values and expertise as a fiscal sponsor, strengthening the organization’s ability to: 

  • Devote attention and resources to its programmatic work instead of day-to-day administrative and operational tasks
  • Build the skills and confidence of its leadership through hands-on support from Tides advisors
  • Connect with relevant, mission-aligned funders in the Tides network
  • Cultivate a strategic and intentional decision-making process for the project’s  programming


Through its fiscally sponsored partnership with Tides, TPP is living out its mission as a restorative justice organization and demonstrating how partnership can amplify impact. 

TPP is Centering the Needs and Voices of Impacted Communities

Four of TPP’s leaders were formerly in prison, including executive director Armand Coleman, giving them a deep understanding of the challenges that incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people face. By partnering with Tides, TPP has been able to grow its presence and bring community-led solutions to more people and families harmed by the prison system.  

Operational Expertise is Key for Capacity-Building

TPP understood how healing can prevent greater harm, but it needed a more comprehensive framework to turn that idea into action. With support from Tides, TPP has successfully navigated issues like building out its fundraising program and developing its board. 

Reach is Growing Over Time

TPP has helped countless people convicted of a crime in its first 10 years, building momentum for its goal to achieve criminal justice reform. Since partnering with Tides, TPP has brought meditation into prisons, collaborated with Harvard Law students to evaluate the impact of TPP’s work and of incarceration, and expanded its reach across its home state of Massachusetts. Up next? Bringing TPP’s work to additional states and exploring advocacy to drive systemic change.