Criminal Justice Committee Duties:  

  • Seek to eliminate harsh and unfair sentencing practices that are responsible for mass incarceration and racial disparities in the prison system, 
  • Fight for the restoration of the voting rights of formerly incarcerated people and the removal of barriers to employment, 
  • Seek the institution and availability of alternatives to incarceration including education, employment, and mental health services, 
  • Eliminate zero tolerance policies implemented in our schools which are keeping kids out of the classroom and putting them on a path from the schoolhouse to the jailhouse

Committee Goals:

To work closely with corrections, the Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff’s UNITY committee, and local police to address systemic racism and microaggressions in the county.

About Ryan Alaniz

What is your name and your committee?

Dr. Ryan Alaniz, Criminal Justice

Tell us a little about yourself.

Ryan Alaniz is an associate professor of sociology at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. He has volunteered for several community-based, national, and international organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of marginalized groups. Dr. Alaniz currently works on issues of education in correctional institutions.

What are you working on in your committee?

I am working with the Sheriff’s UNITY committee to address systemic racism in SLO county.

What are your goals for your committee?

To work closely with corrections, the Sheriff’s Office, and local police to address systemic racism and microaggressions in the county.

What volunteer opportunities are available in your committee?

The committee is currently me. I don’t have the time or energy to manage volunteers.

What keeps you optimistic or motivated in your work on social justice?

Most humans, deep down, are good. We are an empathetic and a resilient species and can change for the better. I also believe that the suffering of others is also my suffering; I must do what I can to diminish their pain.

How do you take care of yourself or avoid burn out in social justice work? What do you do for self-care?

I prioritize my own mental and physical health and ensure that I enjoy my work. I love to surf, meditate, play soccer, care for bees, and garden.

What are your personal life goals?

To grow physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually every day as well as to serve those in need.

What book, podcast, or other media do you recommend?

My favorite podcast is entitled “Ear Hustle.” It is created by a journalist and folks incarcerated in San Quentin prison and provides insight into what life looks like behind bars.