Executive Director, W. Haywood Burns Institute
2017 Speaker • 2018 Speaker • 2021 Speaker

Oakland, California

James Bell is the founding president of the W. Haywood Burns Institute. The institute has worked in over 200 counties in 23 states to engage justice stakeholders and communities in building equity in the administration of justice. Bell has trained and addressed thousands of human services professionals and community members on race, ancestry and inclusion as necessary and vital components of the delivery of safety for all communities.

Bell has appeared on numerous national television shows, conducted radio interviews and written blogs and articles for a variety of platforms. He has written sections in published anthologies on school discipline, youth justice history, and health.

Bell 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 was in Holland and England, where he advised on emerging issues of racial, ethnic and religious minorities being over-represented in the justice system. In that context he gave an address at the House of Lords to a wide range of justice stakeholders. He recently consulted with Norwegian criminologists and prison wardens on the humane housing of law violators.

Bell attended California State Polytechnic University and Hastings College of Law.