in change

We are a network of leaders committed to building an equitable future.

James Bell

W. Haywood Burns Institute

James Bell is the founding president of the W. Haywood Burns Institute. The Burns Institute has worked in over 200 counties in 23 states to engage justice stakeholders and communities to build equity in the administration of justice.

James has trained and addressed thousands of human services professionals and community members on race, ancestry and inclusion as a necessary and vital component of the safety of all communities. He has appeared on numerous national television shows, conducted several radio interviews and written blogs and articles for a variety of platforms. He has authored sections of published anthologies on school discipline, youth justice history and health.

James has extensive experience in the international justice arena. He assisted the African National Congress in the administration of the juvenile justice system in South Africa and consulted with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. Most recently, he spent time in Holland and England, where he advised on emerging issues of racial, ethnic and religious minorities being over-represented in the justice system. He attended California State Polytechnic University and Hastings College of Law.