REFORM Alliance has appointed notable criminal justice advocate Robert Rooks as the organization’s new CEO, while current CEO Van Jones will join the Executive Board.
Rooks looks forward to using his experience with legislative reform in his new role at the criminal justice organization. “I’m honored to lead REFORM into the next phase of growth,” Rooks said in a statement. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for the organization’s founding partners and know their commitment to criminal justice reform is truly unparalleled. I look forward to building on the foundation that Van established and helping drive meaningful legislative change that will positively impact the millions who are unjustly trapped in our country’s broken probation and parole system.”
Rooks will assume the role on March 1.
Co-founded by Meek Mill, Jay-Z, Michael Rubin, and Robert Kraft, REFORM tackles criminal justice reform in a number of states, like Florida, California, Louisiana, Michigan, Texas, and Ohio.
Rooks was the co-founder and CEO of nonprofit Alliance for Safety and Justice, which campaigns to diminish the prison population. He’ll stay on the organization’s board even as he moves on to REFORM.
“Robert is a game-changing hire for our organization,” co-chairmen Meek Mill and Rubin said in a statement. “He has a proven track record of changing laws and is universally-respected by leaders on both sides of the political spectrum.”
Rooks wanted to become involved in criminal justice activism and community organizing after he saw how the crack cocaine epidemic impacted disenfranchised communities in his Dallas hometown and across the U.S.
“With Robert Rooks as our CEO, the sky’s the limit for us at REFORM,” Jones said in a press release. “When we first launched two years ago, I set out to build a robust team, elevate REFORM from a start-up to a high-performance organization and generate major legislative wins. We’ve made incredible strides on all three fronts. But Rooks is going to put a rocket booster under everything we have done so far. He knows how to build, he knows how to lead and he knows how to win. I am very proud to join the REFORM board, where I will be supporting him and the whole REFORM team to take everything to the next level.”