Policy Change

Throughout the Ella Baker Center's twenty year history, we have helped win policy changes that have made a real impact on people's lives. 

Among those victories we:

  • Partnered with the California Teachers Association and led a campaign resulting in 70% of voters saying "no" to Proposition 6, a “dumb on crime, tough on the budget” ballot measure
  • Sponsored and enacted multiple bills to help families stay connected with their children while they are locked up in youth prisons
  • Eliminated the practice of “time adds”, a policy that allowed guards to extend parole consideration hearing dates without due process in the youth prisons (a primary reason why California youths served the longest average sentences in the nation)
  • Worked to ensure the passage of the federal 2007 Green Collar Jobs Act

Learn more about our victories.

In 2015, we released Who Pays? The True Cost of Incarceration on Families, a national, community-driven report that we led with Forward Together, Research Action Design, and 20 other organizations across the country. The report revealed that families with incarcerated loved ones face overwhelming debts, a range of health challenges, and severed family ties. It additionally identified a better approach to criminal justice, outlining critical and achievable family-centered reforms:

  • Restructure and Reinvest: All states need to restructure their policies to reduce the number of people in jails and prisons and the sentences they serve. The money saved from reducing incarceration rates should be used instead to reinvest in resources for communities. 
  • Remove Barriers: Upon release, formerly incarcerated individuals face significant barriers accessing critical resources like housing and employment that they need to survive and move forward. These barriers must be removed in order to help individuals have a chance at success.
  • Restore Opportunities: Focusing energy on investing and supporting formerly incarcerated individuals, their families, and the communities from which they come can restore their opportunities for a brighter future and the ability to participate in society at large.

Our goal is to implement policies that build on these recommendations. Become a member of the Ella Baker Center today and help us win.