Rachel Johnson-Farias

  • Hosted by East Bay Community Law Center
  • Sponsored by The Morrison & Foerster Foundation
  • Service location Berkeley, California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Criminal Justice Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2012
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Through her comprehensive, holistic re-entry legal services and policy work, Rachel’s Starting Over Strong project addressed the collateral consequences confronting youth with criminal records.

The collateral consequences of a juvenile criminal record are myriad, including barriers to employment, housing, and education. Low-income African-American and Latino youths are disproportionately represented at all levels of Alameda County’s juvenile system. More than 90 percent of the youths housed in the county’s detention center are African-American (61 percent) and Latino (33 percent). These young people often lack needed legal information and resources about re-entry, including record sealing, rights regarding employment and licensing discrimination, and consumer protections related to criminal record reporting. Research shows that recidivism decreases when youths with records are afforded educational and employment opportunities upon re-entry.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Rachel:

  • Counseled more than 200 justice-system-involved youth and their families
  • Coordinated and provided re-entry legal services to eligible youth in the Oakland Unified School District under a federal grant
  • Organized the community to implement a waiver process for the previously non-refundable $150 fee to seal juvenile records in Alameda County
  • Collaborated with state legislators to advocate for legislation that would eliminate record sealing fees statewide for youth aged 25 and under

What’s Next

After starting her own organization as an Echoing Green Fellow, Rachel has returned to Berkeley Law as executive director of the Center for Reproductive Rights & Justice.

Media

Rachel Johnson-Farias ’12 Back to Lead Center on Reproductive Rights & Justice

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