Bail Reform Summit

It’s time for change.

We need significant, structural changes to our criminal justice system. On Friday, October 18, The Minneapolis Foundation gathered local and national changemakers to take close look at our newly commissioned pretrial justice report, created in partnership with the University of Minnesota, and to discuss the local actions that can be taken to move the system forward.

Our keynote speakers included James Forman, Jr. and Raj Jayadev. To see all of our speakers, panelists, and a schedule of the day, take a look at our summit agenda.

About Our Speakers

James Forman Headshot

James Forman, Jr.

After graduating from Yale Law School, James Forman, Jr. worked as a law clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court. After clerking, he joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where for six years he represented juveniles and adults in felony and misdemeanor cases.

Now at Yale Law School, where he has taught since 2011, James teaches Constitutional Law and a course called Race, Class, and Punishment. He has written many law review articles, in addition to op-eds and essays for the New York Times, the Atlantic, the New Republic, the Nation, and the Washington Post. His first book is the critically acclaimed “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America”, which explores how decisions made by black leaders, often with the best of intentions, contributed to disproportionately incarcerating black and brown people. A Washington Post bestseller, “Locking Up Our Own” was longlisted for the National Book Award and has been named a Best Book of the Year by numerous publications.

Raj Headshot

Raj Jayadev

Raj Jayadev is a community organizer creating a model of grassroots collective action that gives individuals facing incarceration, their families, and their communities an active role in their defense. His work in criminal justice reform has grown out of his social activism work with Silicon Valley De-Bug, an organization he co-founded in 2001. De-Bug began as a magazine about issues affecting low-wage manufacturing, temporary workers, and it has since evolved into a multidimensional platform for community organizing, social justice advocacy, and multimedia storytelling by low-income, minority, incarcerated, and other disenfranchised communities.

Through De-Bug, Raj and his colleagues also started a family organizing model called the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project – a methodology for families and communities to impact the outcome of cases of their loved ones and change the landscape of power in the courts. Raj is currently an Ashoka Fellow and a Rosenberg Foundation Leading Edge Fellow. His writing and work has appeared and been profiled in media outlets such as the New York Times,, and National Public Radio.

Pretrial Justice: A Report on the Cash Bail System

The Minneapolis Foundation commissioned a report to shed light on pretrial justice. This report explores the institution of bail and the efforts of local and national leaders to reform a historically unjust system.

Thank you to our partners who helped create this report and are supporting the Foundation’s bail reform efforts. Contributing authors include Joshua Page and Victoria Piehowski from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal, and Chanda Smith Baker and Brandon Williams from The Minneapolis Foundation.

Read the Report
Listen to Podcast Conversations

Knowing Your Power: a Conversation with James Forman, Jr.
After James’ keynote speech at the Bail Reform Summit, he sat down with Chanda Smith Baker to talk about how his parents influenced his life, how intentions don’t always match impact, and the lessons to keep in mind when reforming the criminal legal system. 

Taking on Equity: a Conversation with Cherise Fanno Burdeen
Cherise Fanno Burdeen, the CEO of the Pretrial Justice Institute, has spent more than 20 years working to improve public safety policies and practices around the country. Chanda and Cherise talk about how Cherise’s understanding of her whiteness has impacted her work, the racial divides in our systems, and how the time is ripe to reform our nation’s pretrial practices.

Event Photos

View more photos from the event on our Facebook page. If you haven’t already, be sure to like our page and tag yourself in the photos.


For questions and more details about this event, please contact Brandon Williams at