Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy

Reprieve US

Fighting for justice for victims of state-sponsored human rights abuses

aka Reprieve US

New York, NY


Reprieve US delivers justice and saves lives, from death row to Guantanamo Bay.

We investigate, litigate and educate on behalf of individuals facing abusive detention, extrajudicial killing and execution, focusing on those cases most likely to help reshape US foreign policy and the administration of the death penalty.

We channel the power of international governments and corporations to curb US counter-terrorism abuses and to reduce the use of the death penalty worldwide.

Ruling Year



Eric Lewis

Main Address

PO Box 3657

New York, NY 10174 USA


human rights, civil liberties, access to justice, counter terrorism, national security, death penalty, death row, capital punishment, criminal defense





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

International Human Rights (Q70)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Reprieve U.S. is a high-impact legal nonprofit working for the most disenfranchised people in society because we believe that it is in these cases that human rights are most swiftly jettisoned and the rule of law is cast aside. We defend those facing the death penalty and those who have had their human rights violated in the name of the “War on Terror”. In uncovering and exposing human rights abuses committed by the powerful against the powerless, we create a climate where such abuses are condemned, where perpetrators are held to account, and where pressure exists to deter actors from performing future abuses. Underlying all of Reprieve U.S.’ work is a refusal to accept state abuse of power, a commitment to holding governments to account and bringing power to the powerless. Reprieve U.S. does not shy away from targeting the U.S. and its allies in its efforts to bring about change.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Stop Lethal Injection Project (SLIP)

Guantanamo Bay

Drones and Assassinations Litigation

Life After Guantanamo (LAG)

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Reprieve U.S. uses strategic interventions, individual cases and public pressure with the aim to end the use of the death penalty worldwide, and to end the most extreme abuses carried out by states in the context of the so-called “war on terror” – including torture, rendition, illegal detention and extra-judicial killing.

To achieve our mission, we carry out in-depth investigations into the use of the death penalty and the implementation of counter-terrorism policy. We then litigate cases of strategic significance in order to seek some measure of justice for our beneficiaries and create a public record of abuses committed. Many of the people we assist do not have access to meaningful justice through the courts, so we fight their cases in the court of public opinion. By humanizing victims of extreme human rights abuses, extraordinary shifts can be brought about in the minds of influential decision-makers and the public. The area we operate in is dynamic and fast moving. As a smaller organization, we need to be agile and strategic in terms of who we represent and how we use their stories to effect change. Where it becomes apparent that a particular case or campaign is successfully capturing the public imagination and thereby shifting the debate on the issues with which we engage, we invest more resources in it and maximize our ability to have an impact for that individual and the broader issue. If a strategy is not working, we stand back from it until a better time, or we re-evaluate and adapt.

Ultimately, Reprieve U.S.’ primary resource is its people, their commitment, experience and ability. Almost all Reprieve U.S. staff could earn considerably more elsewhere, but they are bound to the organization because they are offended on a profound level by the peculiar hypocrisy of using systems of justice to create spaces for abuse whether in the execution chamber or legal black holes such as Guantánamo Bay. Although Reprieve U.S. is a smaller nonprofit, we regularly achieve impact that vastly outstrips our size because we are dynamic and creative in approach, and we leverage our modest resources by working in strategic partnership with our larger sister organization Reprieve, grassroots partners and fellows in the U.S. and all over the world, and with pro bono counsel from top law firms. These firms have resources far beyond our own and are able to undertake tasks that we simply do not have capacity for, but that greatly enhance our work. These relationships make Reprieve U.S. a truly global organization and are vital to our success. As lawyers and investigators, and through our Fellows and partner organizations all around the world, we have close proximity to those we assist and are uniquely placed to make the voices of these individuals heard: we meet with them in person, thereby developing a factual portrait of their case and conditions of imprisonment, as well as an understanding of their personal story. We often also enjoy an authority to speak on their behalf and tell their stories in a way that more traditional campaigners do not. Our Fellows, partner organizations and consultants are renowned for their work, and are key to developing trust and gaining access to those whose rights we seek to defend.

At the most basic level, we are successful when death sentences are overturned, when people we assist receive justice and when perpetrators are held to account. But this work is challenging, and it can take years to show results, therefore we have developed robust internal and external monitoring and evaluation processes and practices to track progress towards our aims. Each year, we produce a strategy document detailing activities we plan to implement over the next 12 months to further our programmatic objectives, indicators of success and external variables. Throughout the year progress is tracked via our direct outputs (e.g. investigations conducted, appeals filed) and through monitoring the external environment using a range of quantitative and qualitative indicators (e.g. number of executions, numbers of civilians killed in drone strikes, statements by politicians, media coverage of our issues). The data is regularly evaluated to determine whether our strategies are having the desired impact, and are the best possible use of our limited resources

In partnership with our larger sister organization, Reprieve, activists and NGOs all over the world, and pro bono counsel at law firms: we fight for justice and we save lives. To date we have:  Saved well over 500 people from death rows around the world;  Secured the release of 80 men from the Guantánamo Bay, and we continue to be the largest legal presence at the facility, representing seven of the remaining detainees;  Secured the release of over 140 former death row inmates in Malawi through the Resentencing Project. Not a single person has been re-sentenced to death, and total abolition of the death penalty is now a real possibility;  Advised more than 50 global pharmaceutical companies taking steps to prevent their medicines from being misused in lethal injections;  Through the unique Life After Guantánamo project, helped over 100 ex-detainees and their families to rebuild their lives, with a 0% recidivism rate. Looking ahead, we will continue to chip away at the use of the death penalty one case and strategy at a time, limiting its application until it is eventually relegated to the history books. We will also continue to elevate the stories of victims of abuses in counter-terrorism, giving them a platform to share their experiences. By exposing the human costs of human rights abuses, we will speak truth to power, changing public perception and holding to account the world’s most powerful governments.

External Reviews


Reprieve US

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?