Research for Change

With generous funding from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, the Criminal Justice Program launched the Research for Change Project in Fall 2022. The Project harnesses the power of University-based research to inform real-world criminal legal topics. The initiative brings together community and government stakeholders to advance policy change and transformation in the criminal legal system.

Research for Change Projects

  • 2022-2023 Research for Change Project

    Our 2022-2023 Research for Change Project focused on Restorative Justice in California. Restorative justice (RJ) is a practice and theory rooted in and developed from indigenous practices. At its core, RJ is about relationships: how you create them, maintain them, and mend them. It is based on the philosophy that we are all interconnected, that we live in relationship with one another, and that safety and justice exist at the level of healthy relationships. Grounded in this idea of interconnectedness, restorative justice can prevent harm from occurring and provide an alternative way of addressing harm. When harm happens, it is seen as a wound in the community and a tear in the web of relationships. Because we are all interconnected, harm ripples out to disrupt the whole web—a harm to one is a harm to all. Restorative justice practices provide an opportunity for people most directly impacted by an incident of harm to voluntarily and collectively determine a path forward to begin the journey of healing, transforming relationships and accountability.

    This year, CJP worked in collaboration with Impact JusticeCommunity Works West, and The Ahimsa Collective to conduct research and analysis on prospective RJ legislation in California. We hosted a convening of California RJ organizations at UCLA and we produced a report documenting the process of forming a statewide RJ policy coalition.

    Our 2022-2023 Research for Change report, "The Promise and Perils of Restorative Justice Legislation in California", provides an in depth look at RJ legislation across the country, analyzes results from focus groups of RJ practitioners in California to understand how legislation could support or detract from their work, and discusses a pending piece of legislation in the California legislature on restorative justice.

2022-2023 Research for Change Fellows

Emma EnglerEmma Engler (she/hers) is a second-year student at UCLA Law. She has worked and volunteered with various agencies and nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, Brilliant Corners, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and the Van Nuys Courthouse Self-Help Center. She is grateful that she gets to give back to her community through local pro-bono work as she develops as a community lawyer at UCLA. As a Research for Change Fellow, she hopes to expand opportunities for those who have been harmed to control their own healing. For those who have caused harm, she hopes the research will help them meaningfully reconcile with and rejoin their communities.

Eushrah HossainEushrah Hossain (she/hers) is a third-year law student specializing in Critical Race Studies and Public Interest Law and Policy. She is from Albuquerque, New Mexico and graduated from Occidental College with a B.A. in Cognitive Science and minor in Philosophy. Prior to law school, Eushrah worked at the Albuquerque District Attorney's office on pre-prosecution diversion efforts and at a nonprofit that offers mental health services to foster children and youth in juvenile detention in Los Angeles. Eushrah is excited to be a Research for Change Fellow because she believes restorative justice offers a clear path towards abolition and important tools for individual and community healing.

Brisely MartinezBrisely Martinez (she/her/ella) is a second-year law student at UCLA Law specializing in Critical Race Studies and part of the PILP community! She attended UC Riverside for undergrad and majored in Sociology. As a system impacted person who experienced the incarceration of her sibling, Brisely has always been passionate about advocating with people directly impacted by the criminal legal system. Prior to attending law school Brisely co-founded the Underground Scholars Initiative at UCR to advocate with formerly incarcerated and system impacted students and worked with youth in Riverside and Fresno who were directly impacted by the juvenile justice system either by probation or incarceration. She also supported formerly incarcerated youth’s local policy advocacy and youth justice coalition in Fresno and advocated for youth care and healing over youth caging at a statewide policy level with the California Alliance Youth & Community Justice. Brisely is excited about being a Research for Change Fellow to continue pushing alternatives to incarceration and punishment that are rooted in care, healing, and human dignity.

Isaiah Zeavin-MossIsaiah Zeavin-Moss (he/him) is a second-year law student from Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2018, where he double majored in English Language & Literature and American Studies. Before law school, he worked as an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn and the South Bronx. Isaiah is thrilled to be a Research for Change Fellow because he wants to learn about and amplify abolitionist responses to harm that provide healing and redress, rather than cruelty and excommunication.

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