Clarence Ford is a member of the Social Justice and Well-being team with the W. Haywood Burns Institute. Clarence focuses on recent developments in research, legislation, and analyzes data to understand the impact of justice system decision making on people of color.
Clarence brings lived experience to the justice reform movement. After being released from incarceration, he became a community organizer/policy advocate in Richmond, CA focusing on the removal of barriers in the reintegration of formerly incarcerated peoples. It was through his organizing experience with the SafeReturnTeam that he became politicized and learned how to use his juvenile hall and prison experience as a catalyst for change in social justice. After transferring to the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) from Contra Costa Community College, he became a policy advocate for the Berkeley Underground Scholars, a student led organization of formerly incarcerated and system impacted students on campus working to expand the prison to school pipeline. There he helped to successfully spearhead a Ban-the-Box campaign for UCB, which later became an adopted practice at all UCs.
He received his Master of Public Policy from Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy in May 2018. For his graduate Advanced Policy Analysis research project, he worked for the California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General Executive Division.
Clarence also helped to produce a short documentary that highlights the inspiring journeys of four individuals (including himself) from being incarcerated to being admitted to UC Berkeley. He voluntarily visits correctional facilities and universities to showcase the film to promote dialogue around higher education and dismantling social stigmas of formerly incarcerated persons.