Van Jones

Van Jones
Van is leading the fight against police brutality, racial bias, infringement on civil liberties, and other violations. He has developed a variety of programs that aim to change criminal justice policies in the long run. Realizing that legal services alone will not solve complex human rights challenges facing the prison system today, Van's Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (EBC) develops and supports community-based organizing.

In 1996, the Center started the country's first and only lawyer-referral service for police misconduct: PoliceWatch Hotline. Jones uses state-of-the art technology to document and track police misconduct, which is then made available to lawyers, organizations, and the media. Secondly, the Ella Baker Center is establishing civilian reviews of police conduct where it does not exist and improving existing procedures. This will promote democratic control of law enforcement agencies. Most importantly, Van is giving voice for the first time to young people most affected by lapses in the system. Finally, he is launching a public education campaign to draw attention to increasing expenditure on prisons and the shortage of funds for education.

A unifying component of all his strategies is the drawing together of "unlikely allies": those who, regardless of race, income, or ideology, are unwilling to accept the escalating costs—moral, physical, and economic—of America's growing number of prisons.

MediaVan Jones speaks with Global Public Media's Dave Room