Pandemic Justice

Last year, before social distancing was a thing, I participated in a meeting where a justice stakeholder passionately explained to me why focusing on reducing racial and ethnic disparities was a mistake that threatened the public safety of victims that they were sworn to protect. For nearly twenty years, I have participated in these discussions. ...

Raising up ALL voices – We must flatten the curve behind the wall, too!

Let’s Stop Potential and Unintended Death Sentences As the Coronavirus or COVID-19 as it has now been designated, makes its way to the western world, it has infected 214,915 (and counting) and killed 8,733 while simultaneously exposing deficiencies in diverse facets of society’s infrastructures along the way.  The United States has been able to take some ...

Our parole system focuses on control and punishment. What about reintegration?

I served three years in prison, and five years on parole, for armed robbery. Today, I’m a double alumnus from UC Berkeley with a master’s degree in public policy. The support and resources I received when released from prison were integral to where I am today, and parole did not provide any of them. In fact, today’s parole system only emphasizes detecting parole violations and punishing parole violators.

Burns Institute 2018 Annual Report: The Urgency of Change

A political climate in which racism is espoused from the nation’s highest office did not temper the W. Haywood Burns Institute’s (BI) work in 2018. With a galvanized internal structure, strengthened and growing partnerships and projects, and a new vision of structural well-being, BI continues to work to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities by growing ...

Achieving REEI and Rejecting the Black-White Binary of Race

The Black-White paradigm of race has long shaped the American perception and understanding of race and racism. It is ubiquitous and rigid, and we must recognize how this binary binds our appreciation, recognition and real understanding of the lived experiences of the many “other’s” throughout American history. If we choose to understand race as only ...

Unlocking Opportunity: New Burns Institute Report Highlights Disparities in California’s Youth Justice System

Every night in California, nearly 4,000 youth lay their heads to sleep out of their homes, out of their community and away from their families as the result of a court ordered placement. Youth of color comprise the vast majority of these youth (88 percent). In fact, at every decision-making point in the youth justice ...

Looking Back, Moving Forward: Reflections from the Field

2017 has been a year of significant change for both the nation and the Burns Institute. For us here at the BI, the looming year’s end signals a time for deep reflection on where we stand and how we will move forward. As we take stock of the lessons we have learned over the past ...

Our Interactive Data Map is now Updated to Reflect the Latest OJJDP Youth Incarceration Data

On any given day in the US, Black youth are five times as likely as White youth to be incarcerated; Latino youth are almost twice as likely; and Native American youth are three times as likely. Most of these youth (73 percent) were incarcerated for non-violent offenses. Although the number of youth incarcerated has decreased by ...

Trans-Atlantic Dialogues on Race and Incarceration

James Bell delivering a seminar at the Centre for Justice Innovation in London, UK. To talk about race and ethnicity as it relates to the justice system is often seen as a uniquely American conversation. Yet, although America certainly leads the way when it comes to incarceration and its disproportionate effects on communities of color, there ...

Press Release: California Takes the Lead in Juvenile Justice Reform — Ends The Harmful, Unlawful, and Costly Practice of Charging Fees to Families with Youth in the System

SACRAMENTO—On October 11, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 190, a major, bipartisan juvenile justice reform bill that will improve youth rehabilitation and increase public safety. Effective January 1, 2018, SB 190 ends the regressive and racially discriminatory practice of charging administrative fees to families with youth in the juvenile system. More specifically, ...