System-Changing Policy Advocacy

Through people-powered policy advocacy and impact litigation, we seek to overhaul the broken justice system and secure dignity and second chances for all.

The law has long been used as a weapon to harm, control and disenfranchise low-income communities and communities of color, which have been locked into poverty and second-class citizenship for generations. To end this oppressive use of the law, our team takes on some of the most difficult policy reform and impact litigation campaigns alongside directly impacted people. Together, we ensure the law serves, rather than harms, impacted communities.

Each year, Root & Rebound selects urgent legislative and impact litigation campaigns that will transform the lives of impacted people now, while also rallying support to dismantle more entrenched barriers in the longer term. Our successes prove that policy advocacy can be a powerful tool for racial and social equity and empowerment.

Advocacy Aims

Our policy and impact litigation campaigns focus on achieving five broad aims.

1

Elevate the lived experiences of people most harmed by the criminal justice system

2

Combat poverty, racism, mass criminalization and other forms of control and oppression

3

Eliminate the devastating, often lifelong, consequences of an arrest or conviction

4

Broaden the protections, rights and opportunities of system-impacted people

5

Build thriving communities that all people can participate in equally

Debt-Free Justice

We’re part of a movement to reduce the suffering caused by court-ordered debt and enhance the economic security of system-involved people by ending criminal justice-related fines and fees.

Fair Chance Hiring

CA’s Fair Chance Act prevents employers from asking about conviction history until after they give a conditional offer of employment. We educate employers and bring litigation to ensure the law is followed.

Fair Housing for All

We’re part of a growing grassroots coalition to pass Fair Chance Housing laws that reduce discrimination against system-impacted people, because everyone should have access to safe housing.

Occupational Licensing Reform

One in five jobs requires an occupational license in CA. We seek to ensure that licensing boards holistically assess all applicants, instead of imposing blanket bans on people with records

Family Reunification

We’re working to introduce legislation that would limit the separation of many of the poorest and most vulnerable families by changing laws related to caregiver diversion, child welfare, family reunification, so that state and federal family and child welfare law do not further disenfranchise and punish justice-impacted families.

Parole & Probation Reform

We’re advancing campaigns and policy reforms that humanize formerly incarcerated people, shorten supervision lengths and reduce the discretion of supervision departments to flash incarcerate, dictate oppressive conditions, and otherwise abuse their authority over people on parole and probation.

Ban the Box to Higher Education

Graduate-level programs and private colleges in California continue to discriminate against applicants because of their arrest and conviction histories. In coalition with impacted experts and grassroots groups, we’re leading a campaign to finally Ban the Box in Higher Education in California, to ensure that formerly incarcerated students have access to higher education.

Improving Reentry

We advocate for increased public resources to go toward holistic and supportive services that people need upon reentering from prison and jail, including access to ID, safe and affordable housing, job training and opportunities, financial support, healthcare, and legal services.