As Rooks assumes CEO position at REFORM Alliance, ASJ’s leadership pipeline from directly impacted communities will boost organization’s state-based reform efforts
OAKLAND, CA — The Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) today announced that co-founder Robert Rooks will transition on March 1 from his role as Chief Executive Officer to become President Emeritus of the organization’s Board of Directors. Rooks will remain active with ASJ, as he assumes a new role as Chief Executive Officer of REFORM Alliance, an allied criminal justice reform organization founded in 2019.
“Robert has been a true partner in co-founding and building ASJ into the largest safety and justice reform advocacy organization in the nation,” said Lenore Anderson, co-founder and President of Alliance for Safety and Justice. “He has recruited and developed a wide array of leaders in our organization, who are now ready to take our work to the next level. Robert’s leadership is an immense asset to the entire criminal justice field, and I look forward to continuing to partner with him in his new role.”
Rooks and Anderson co-founded ASJ in 2016 with the goal of replacing over-incarceration with more effective public safety solutions rooted in crime prevention, community health, rehabilitation and support for crime victims. Since its launch, ASJ has been the driving force behind new policies that have reduced incarceration by more than 75,000 people in states as diverse as California, Florida, Illinois and others, generated hundreds of millions in violence prevention and trauma recovery investments, and expanded record clearance and voting opportunities to millions of people with old records.
“When it comes to uniting and building power among crime victims from communities most impacted by violence and people living with past records to win new public safety priorities, ASJ is leading the way,” said Rooks. “I’m proud that ASJ will continue to be led by a staff and leadership team that is a direct reflection of the communities most harmed and least helped by the justice system—and confident that will continue to fuel ASJ’s continued growth and success.”
Under Robert’s direction, ASJ has built a pipeline of leaders who—either as crime survivors or people living with old records—intimately know the failings of the criminal justice system to provide safety for communities.
“Robert is one of the major reasons why I am in the position to help advance opportunities and relief for millions of other people with past records, and contribute to winning reforms that increase safety for all,” said Jay Jordan, co-founder of ASJ’s #TimeDone campaign and Executive Director of its sister organization, Californians for Safety and Justice. “I followed his vision to join ASJ, and in turn he invested in developing my leadership. I’m excited for his continued influence and mentorship in the criminal justice field, and look forward to working with an incredible set of leaders across our organization to win safety for communities.”
“Robert changed my life by investing in my leadership. He gave me the opportunity to take back the most traumatic experience of my life—and to help survivors and communities across the country access safety,” said Aswad Thomas, Managing Director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a national network of over 42,000 crime survivors from states throughout the country. “I’m excited for how Robert’s leadership at REFORM will enhance criminal justice reform efforts across the country. His dedication to my development and so many other leaders at ASJ guarantees our organization will continue to get stronger and achieve more reforms that make our communities safer.”