Leadership Development

BOSS works to support new leaders from communities directly impacted by mass homelessness, mass incarceration, and community violence, through the BOSS Social Justice Collective (SJC). The SJC holds weekly classes on-site at the BOSS Career Training and Employment Center (CTEC), engaging returning citizens and justice-involved individuals in learning about the underlying causes of inequity created by systems imbued with social, economic and racial bias and injustice.

SJC participants learn about the history of social justice movements, current issues that affect the justice system, and current criminal justice reform campaigns. Participants take part in leadership skill-building activities and share their stories with the public, elected officials, and media, including speaking in front of city councils, county commissions, and state legislators.

For more information on the SJC contact Tim Smith, BOSS Director of Reentry Services, at tsmith@self-sufficiency.org.

Voter Registration:

In collaboration with the Alameda County Voter Registrar’s Office, League of Women Voters Oakland, and other partners, BOSS engages in voter registration activities on-site in our programs (providing voter registration cards and referring people to other places to register) as well as holding special events in the community to support new voters. We are committed to encouraging people to participate in democratic processes and make their voices heard!

BOSS recently hosted two voter registration drives on-site at Berkeley programs, as well as tabled the ACLU 100 experience, a 15 city national tour (between 3/31/19-3/31/19). BOSS also organized two voter registration rallies in 2018 in collaboration with ACLU, League of Women Voters, and multiple partners, helping over 100 people register to vote and distributing human service resources and food donations. BOSS Director of Reentry Services Tim Smith also recently attended the Quest For Democracy Rally in Sacramento with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and All Of Us Or None. 


Following are key bills BOSS is following that are important justice reform measures (source: Californians for Safety and Justice, www.safeandjust.org):

SB 36 (Hertzberg) – Risk Assessment Transparency

This bill would require the collection of data in order to evaluate the effectiveness of risk assessment tools, already used in 49 California counties, for pre-trial determinations on detention. SB 36 will improve the transparency of pre-trial risk assessment tools and practices, reducing the potential for discriminatory decisions and improving outcomes.   

SB 375 (Durazo) – Removing Victim Compensation Time Limit

This bill would remove a barrier crime victims across the state face in accessing the victim compensation program. Under current law, many crime victims have to file an application for victim compensation within three years of a crime and can be denied for missing the deadline. SB 375 would extend the time-limit to reflect the reality that many crime survivors are not ready within that time period, because they are unaware of the program or process, not ready to apply because of their trauma, or are dealing with their trauma years after their victimization. This bill will ensure crime survivors have access to the resources needed to recover and heal when they are ready.  

AB 1076 (Ting) – Automatic Record Removal

This bill would provide relief to millions of Californians living with a past conviction or record. It would standardize a process where old convictions, or records from an arrest that did not result in a conviction, would be automatically removed from people’s records after a certain period of time. AB 1076 would help with building a pathway for millions of Californians to earn stability, and clear irrelevant arrest records that can be obstacles to success.    

AB 875 (Wicks) – Pupil health: in-school support services.

This bill would re-establish the Healthy Start Initiative within the Department of Education, in partnership with the Health and Human Services Agency, to oversee a grant program to fund local collaboratives between schools, communities, parents, county health and human service agencies, and nonprofit service providers. These collaboratives will support children and their families in accessing health and mental health care, screenings, basic need supports, and other opportunities that allow children to succeed in life. Additionally, the grant funds will build local capacity and program sustainability, strengthen partnerships between child and family-facing services providers, and support best practices through state, regional, and local technical assistance. Healthy Start 2.0 will target school districts serving a large proportion of students who have been marginalized due to poverty, isolation, immigration status, or other social determinants that impact their health. This bill will help streamline and integrate programs that serve these students and provide them with more effective prevention and early intervention.

AB 1331 – Data Quality In Criminal Records Policies:

This bill would address gaps in criminal justice data and improve access to it by clarifying existing law. Comprehensive collection of criminal justice data is essential to public safety by building the foundation for record clearance efforts that advance community well-being and advancing independent research.