February 2, 2021

Root & Rebound Seeks its first California Policy Director!

Root & Rebound Seeks its first California Policy Director!

Root & Rebound seeks a policy leader to join our vibrant, diverse, and passionate team working to end the harms of mass incarceration in the United States. People with direct, lived experience of mass incarceration and the war on drugs are encouraged to apply.

About Root & Rebound: 

Root & Rebound (R&R) is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, with offices in California and South Carolina. Our mission is to restore power and resources to the families and communities most harmed by mass incarceration through legal advocacy, public education, policy reform and litigation—a model rooted in the needs and expertise of people who are directly impacted. R&R has a holistic approach to dismantle the two-tiered system of injustice in this country, working in rural and urban communities, and across all areas of life, including housing, employment and occupational licensing, family reunification, parole and probation advocacy, court debt, record expungement, and more. Learn more at www.rootandrebound.org.

Commitment: This is a full-time position, starting as soon as possible, and preferably, no later than April 1, 2021. 

Location: California, with travel throughout the state of California, including Sacramento required (post-pandemic). Root & Rebound’s home office is located in Oakland, but R&R has satellite offices in the Central Valley and Southern California.

About the CA Policy Director Role:

This is a leadership role focused on solidifying the policy platform within Root & Rebound to drive the creation and refinement of a strategic policy agenda at federal, state and local levels across several issue areas. As we grow our team, we prioritize the leadership of people who have been directly impacted by mass incarceration and the war on drugs. Systems impacted people are encouraged to apply. This role is public-facing, requiring the forging of relationships and partnerships with community members, policy makers, and partner organizations, and actively working in coalition across sectors. We are looking for a self-starter with deep roots in and understanding of the movement for civil rights, racial justice, and criminal justice reform, strong leadership and management experience, excellent writing and communication skills, flexibility, strong attention to detail, and the ability to successfully manage crises and rapid change with a positive mindset.

Role & Responsibilities:

Legislative & Regulatory Work

  • Develop and execute annual policy strategy and legislative agenda, in partnership with R&R team members and partner organizations. 
  • Build and nurture effective multi-organizational coalitions and alliances.
  • Work with R&R staff and leadership to develop, track, and communicate project goals, timelines, and deliverables related to those initiatives and campaigns.
  • Ensure the efficient flow of information and support between program areas and departments, especially communications and development departments.
  • Oversee information sharing, briefings, and policy training for advocacy staff.
  • Provide leadership for the intake and processing of new policy initiatives and/or partnership requests, and ensure that appropriate program team members are involved. 
  • Draft and support bills through the legislative cycle, including legislative sponsorship, outreach, and ongoing advocacy needed to pass bills. 
  • Center the voices and experiences of currently and formerly incarcerated people.


  • Lead public education and implementation initiatives with the support of/in partnership with R&R CA team members. 
  • Ensure consistency and integration between the various program departments with respect to public education, direct legal services, policy advocacy, and litigation.


  • Collect data, stories, testimonies, and client experiences to support the policy agenda.
  • Center the voices and experiences of people directly impacted by mass incarceration and the war on drugs.
  • Track progress of legislative agendas and policy campaigns and coordinate with the Communications Department to promote the organization’s policy developments with key stakeholders.
  • Partner with the Development Team to support the Executive Director and Program Directors in funding and resource development efforts.

Management & Leadership

  • Lead and build out a Policy team. This includes recruiting interns, volunteers, and fellows, and may include direct supervision and management.
  • Provide leadership and support, as appropriate, for new cross-programmatic initiatives.
  • Maintain effective lines of communications amongst the program team leads, keeping the Executive Director informed of all critical issues.
  • Mentor and coach staff using a supportive, collaborative and strengths-based approach to development and growth.
  • Establish and monitor staff performance and development goals, assign duties, set objectives, establish priorities, and conduct semi-annual performance reviews.


Legislative & Regulatory Experience

  • 10+ years of experience in government, civil rights, racial justice, or other relevant fields preferred, ideally with at least five years in a leadership role. (Equivalent combination of education and work experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential job duties may be considered.)
  • Knowledge and experience in policy making, including existing California state laws and correctional policies that impact currently and formerly incarcerated people, including Housing, Employment, Community Supervision, Education, Record Cleaning, ID & Voting, Family & Children, Public Benefits, Court-ordered Debt, Tribal Issues, and Immigration. (See R&R Roadmap.)
  • Deep understanding and experience navigating state budget cycles, legislative cycles, ballot initiative campaigns, and the roles and functions of various agencies in the state and federal executive administrations and various committees in the state and federal legislatures.
  • Proven track record of success leading and collaborating in high-impact and innovative policy advocacy campaigns.

Leadership and Lived Experience

  • R&R values leaders who have direct or lived experience with the harms of mass incarceration  
  • Ability to manage and delegate. Experience leading and building a team—recruiting and managing interns, volunteers, fellows, and staff. 
  • Demonstrated success working in and building coalitions, including partnering with and influencing policy makers, community members, and other advocacy groups or organizations.
  • Experience navigating and resolving interpersonal and group conflict.
  • A team player with an attitude of service who has the ability to motivate others.

Strategic Skills

  • Exceptional written, oral, and presentation skills. 
  • Experience effectively interfacing with Boards of Directors, senior management, staff, clients, and media.
  • Demonstrated ability to strategically evaluate complex political, inter-organization, or policy problems; to develop and communicate options; and to implement solutions.
  • Demonstrated ability to think imaginatively about the possibilities for decarceration and to plan and execute a strategy taking into account emergent opportunities.

Compensation & Benefits:

This position is a full-time position with a competitive salary scale commensurate with experience. Root & Rebound provides employment benefits that include medical, vision, and dental care, employer-sponsored retirement plan, as well as the payment of state bar fees, professional and management training, and CLE courses (when applicable), plus 3 weeks (15 days) of vacation, some federal holidays, and additional time off at year’s end. 

How to Apply:

Please send a resume, cover letter,  writing sample and references in an email to Veena Gursahani at [email protected] by Sunday, February 21 to receive priority consideration.  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Please use “R&R Director of Policy” in the subject line. No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted. 


Root & Rebound is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, or current employment status. 

Root & Rebound values diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system involvement. People with records are encouraged to apply. We depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission. 

For more information about Root & Rebound, visit our website at www.rootandrebound.org

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