The Florida Justice Institute is a nonprofit public interest law firm that conducts civil rights litigation and advocacy in the areas of prisoners’ rights, housing discrimination, disability discrimination, and other areas that impact the lives of Florida’s poor and disenfranchised. FJI is led by Executive Director Randall C. Berg, Jr., and is staffed by attorneys who handle major, systemic civil rights litigation throughout the state of Florida. We are funded primarily through private donations and generous grants from the Florida Bar Foundation, the state’s distributor of IOLTA money.
FJI’s primary purpose is to represent incarcerated people and their families in systemic civil rights cases throughout the state of Florida. The United States currently incarcerates over 2.3 million people in federal and state prisons and local jails across the country, meaning 1 out of every 99 American adults is currently confined to a jail or prison cell. With a prison population of 102,000 inmates and growing, Florida has the third largest prison population of any state, managing these inmates in 137 facilities across the State and spending over $2.7 billion per year to do so. These 102,000 people have no political voice, no say in how they are treated, and have almost no groups or organizations to advocate on their behalf. The small staff of the Florida Justice Institute accounts for many of the lawyers in Florida whose primary purpose involves the needs of institutionalized persons. Read more.
In today’s world, being able to purchase or rent a home is something that many people take for granted. In 1968, when the Fair Housing Act was enacted, a large portion of the American population could not enjoy this right, and instead lived in a world where housing discrimination on the basis of race, handicap, or religion was commonplace. Over the years, courageous victims of discrimination have stood up for their rights, helping to advance the cause of equality in our housing and rental markets. Read more.
Individuals with disabilities may face consistent struggles throughout their lives. They are often denied access to housing, events, services, and benefits, often because of simple failures to provide them with reasonable accommodations. In the most tragic scenarios, the disabled are injured, sometimes fatally, when governments, businesses, and places of public accommodation fail to comply with disability laws. Read more.
Other Impact Litigation
The Florida Justice Institute is dedicated to improving the administration of justice throughout the state, protecting fundamental rights, and helping to create a more just society for all. To achieve these goals, FJI engages in Impact Litigation, both within our prescribed categories of cases and in other areas, aimed at institutional reform. Throughout the years, FJI has brought numerous cases—many of them as class actions seeking injunctive relief—that have achieved a wide-ranging impact for a large number of people through consent decrees or other settlements. Read more.