James Bell is the Founder and Executive Director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute.
Since 2001, Mr. Bell has been spearheading a national movement to address racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system. The BI,
which is named after civil rights pioneer W. Haywood Burns, was recently
awarded the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective
Institutions. The award is presented to select organizations worldwide that have made a “remarkable impact in their fields.”
Mr. Bell and his colleagues at the BI work with juvenile justice systems across the country to reduce the disproportionality of youth of color. Mr Bell guides the BI's Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY), a national network of programs working successfully with young people of color. Mr. Bell also works closely with the Casey Foundation’s JDAI jurisdictions and the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative.
Mr. Bell is being recognized this year for his “profound contribution
to human rights,” by the American Education Research Association Human
Rights Award Committee, which has selected him to receive the second annual
Ella Baker/Septima Clark Human Rights Award.
Mr. Bell has appeared on Nightline and the Tavis Smiley show. He also authored the Unequal Justice section of the Covenant with Black America, a national plan of action to address the primary concerns of African Americans today by Tavis Smiley, as well as the Criminal Justice Policy Paper for the National Black/Latino Summit.
Mr. Bell has extensive experience in the international juvenile justice arena: He assisted the African National Congress in the administration of the juvenile justice system in South Africa; recently worked with Chinese officials and policymakers on alternatives for proven risk youth moving from the countryside to the cities; and worked closely with officials in New Zealand and Australia to analyze the principles and practices that form the foundation of their restorative justice systems.
Mr. Bell is the recipient of a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, the Livingstone Hall Award from the American Bar Association, Attorney of the Year from the Charles Houston Bar Association, the Advocate of the Year from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Moral Leadership Against Injustice Award of the Delancey Street Foundation and the Local Hero Award from the San Francisco Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award.
He received his J.D. from Hastings College of the Law.
Phone: 415-321-4100 x101