Bay Area - Driving Civic Engagement Among People in Jail

Project ObjectiveAddressing the need to educate individuals held in custody in local jails, the project in partnership with the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office (ACPDO) Voter Outreach Increases Community Empowerment (VOICE) program and the Registrar of Voters began working towards providing individuals in custody with the knowledge and support necessary to register to vote. The project is working towards synthesizing research and experiences and highlighting resource gaps and best practices in order to communicate and contextualize learnings to journalists and fellow academics.


VOICE volunteers outside Santa Rita Jail

Media Coverage

Oaklandside: Prop. 17 passed 2 years ago. Now, 50,000 Californians on parole can vote

Established in 2016, the Public Defender’s Office’s VOICE (Voter Outreach Increases Community Empowerment) program has registered over 1,500 people at Santa Rita, around a third of whom have registered since Prop. 17 passed. 

Project Leaders

University of California, Berkeley
Meredith Sadin

Sadin is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. Her work focuses on political inequality, especially in the context of the criminal legal system. In doing so, she has deep experience collaborating with practitioners, policymakers, and government agencies on projects designed to evaluate, implement, scale, and improve public policies and programs.

University of California-Berkeley
amy lerman

Lerman is Professor of Public Policy and Political Science and Associate Dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. Her research is focused on issues of inequality, public opinion, and political behavior in America. She has published several award-winning books, and her most recent book, Good Enough for Government Work, examines how perceptions of government shape citizens’ attitudes toward privatization.