Welcome To

San Quentin SkunkWorks

About Us

San Quentin SkunkWorks is where innovation meets criminal justice reform. As our name implies, we are a criminal justice innovation lab run primarily by system-impacted people. We’re not just participants in this journey; we’re leaders, lending authenticity and unparalleled depth to reform efforts. Our leadership not only bridges gaps and challenges societal perceptions, but it gives us the tools to shape our future. 

Our Mission

We research, craft, and build transformative criminal justice programs, positioning incarcerated people at the heart of our initiatives.

Our Vision

We work on the big issues of criminal justice reform – facilitating reentry success, empowering incarcerated people, and reducing recidivism. However, by relying on incarcerated people to execute our programs, we’re changing prison culture, building agency, and redefining what it means to be confined.

Our Approach

We believe that every person has an inherent potential waiting to be realized. Our programs offer incarcerated people the chance to embark on a transformative journey, moving beyond past mistakes and evolving into their best selves. Through a blend of mentorship, skill development, self-reflection, and trauma-informed support, we provide the tools and environment for profound self-discovery and growth. Our initiatives enable each person to reclaim agency, cultivate resilience, and make meaningful contributions, ultimately preparing them for a brighter future both inside and beyond the prison walls.

At SkunkWorks, it’s not just about reform; it’s about rediscovering identity, purpose, and potential.

Who Runs San Quentin SkunkWorks?

SkunkWorks operates through a dual-team structure. Our Impact Team, comprised of incarcerated people, is the heart of our organization. They are the pulse and primary force behind our programs and innovation. In tandem, the Operations Team, composed of formerly incarcerated people, top-tier professionals, and passionate people who want to change the world, run the day-to-day and ensures that all activities align with legal and organizational standards. They offer crucial guidance and infrastructure to bring the Impact Team’s vision to life.

Our Programs

SkunkWorks: A Leadership Foundry

Welcome to SkunkWorks, a groundbreaking initiative transforming the experience of incarceration into a journey of leadership and innovation. At SkunkWorks, we believe in the untapped potential of incarcerated volunteers to be leaders, change-makers, and pioneers in criminal justice reform.

Through our unique approach, volunteers don’t just participate; they lead. They identify challenges, devise solutions, and spearhead impactful projects within and beyond prison walls. This hands-on involvement ensures our initiatives resonate deeply and are grounded in real-world experiences.

Our mission extends beyond individual transformation. As volunteers evolve into role models, they inspire a culture of rehabilitation, empathy, and positive contribution, both inside and outside prison. This ripple effect redefines rehabilitation and justice, proving the power of trust and empowerment.

Join us in this transformative movement. Support San Quentin SkunkWorks as we forge a future where justice and rehabilitation are seamlessly intertwined, led by those who understand it best.

Explore Leadership Foundry

RighteousReview by San Quentin SkunkWorks: Redefining Justice with AI

Everyone regardless of skin color or national origin deserves to be treated fairly by our justice system. When racism is present in our court system it casts a long shadow of injustice, denying people of color the fundamental right to fair and unbiased legal proceedings. To address this we are creating an AI-powered tool that meticulously analyzes court transcripts to reveal and measure racial bias.

Key Features of RighteousReview

1. Advanced AI-Powered Analysis: Utilizes sophisticated algorithms to analyze court transcripts and records, identifying patterns of racial bias and discrepancies in sentencing with exceptional accuracy and efficiency.

2. Comprehensive Racial Bias and Sentencing Disparity Detection: Seamlessly combines racial bias detection with sentencing disparity analysis, offering a thorough assessment of judicial outcomes and highlighting areas where racial bias may have influenced decisions.

3. Data-Driven Support for Judicial Equity: Generates quantitative evidence to support Racial Justice Act claims and provides invaluable insights for legal professionals, aiding in fair trials, appeals, and informing systemic reform efforts.

Join us on this transformative path. RighteousReview isn’t just a tool; it’s a movement towards a legal system where every case is adjudicated with the integrity and impartiality.

Explore RighteousReview

PathLight Initiative

Crafted by those who’ve experienced the challenges of reentry, the PathLight Initiative offers genuine, firsthand support to others on the same journey. At its heart is a responsive digital community on the Discord app. A space that brings together system-impacted people, supportive organizations, and allies, forging a community where they collectively guide, mentor, and uplift one another.

The power of PathLight lies in its continuity. In a landscape where support can often feel fragmented, we ensure a cohesive connection, beginning with incarcerated individuals pre-release and enduring beyond their reentry. Through PathLight, members gain access to vital insights, essential resources, and mentorship from system-impaired people who’ve walked the same road.

PathLight is more than just a platform on an app; it’s a guiding light, offering timely assistance, valuable insights, and a sense of belonging. Your support can illuminate the path to a shared brighter future.  Join us as we launch PathLight in January!

Explore PathLight Initiative

Transformative Gaming

Right now, we’re changing the racially segregated culture of prison by increasing access to tabletop games. While we chose this campaign because it has a narrow scope, is accomplishable quickly, and is ideal for building the organization, the campaign is meaningful.

Prisons in California are mostly racially segregated. However, there is an exception, a place where people of different races, gender identities, and affiliations congregate freely —the gamer table. It is both revolutionary and unremarkable because games bring people together.

We all experience the beauty in a brilliant move, the elation of a hard-won victory, and the sting of defeat equally.

To read about the first hand benefits of gameplay in carceral settings from I. Hamilton click here.

Explore Transformative Gaming

Join Our Mission at San Quentin SkunkWorks

Your support and involvement are vital in driving our mission forward. Whether you’re inspired to volunteer, donate, or spread the word, your contribution makes a real difference. Join us at San Quentin SkunkWorks in our pursuit of transformative criminal justice reform. Together, we can create a future where rehabilitation, justice, and innovation thrive, led by those who understand it best.


Contact Us: sqsw@sanquentinskunkworks.org; 1(415)275-2058

San Quentin SkunkWorks is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax ID number 88-3852173) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.