Renee Menart
Communications and Policy Analyst, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
Renee Menart conducts policy analysis and leads communications strategies with the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ), a community-based nonprofit organization in San Francisco. Renee works closely with community partners to advocate for state policies that reduce incarceration and promote alternative responses to social issues. She plans and co-facilitates the Next Generation Fellowship, a leadership development and policy training program that equips formerly incarcerated emerging leaders to influence policy decision-making. Renee manages the release of CJCJ publications, including writing and editing, data analysis, media relations, and dissemination of findings to community and governmental stakeholders. Previously, Renee was a research assistant with the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. In this role, she collaborated with incarcerated colleagues to conduct a qualitative study on attitudes toward voting among men inside an Illinois state prison. Renee led data analysis and synthesized survey findings, which ultimately contributed to the development and passage of the 2019 Re-Entering Citizens Civics Education Act. Renee's passion for justice reform grew through her experience in early childhood education. She served as a team leader and AmeriCorps member in the national Jumpstart program. In this role, she facilitated reading and literacy lessons at an under-resourced preschool in Chicago. Renee and her team developed consistent relationships with families to support each child's development. She then pursued an internship in the Juvenile Justice and Investigations units of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office where she conducted pretrial interviews with people awaiting Bond Court. Renee graduated summa cum laude from DePaul University with an B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies. A California native originally from Los Angeles, Renee now feels deeply connected to the San Francisco Bay Area community. Renee received a 2020 Bay Area Inspire Award to develop a children's book that supports families impacted by incarceration. Proceeds from this project will support the related work of community-based programs. She enjoys spending time in nature, volunteering with Friends of the Urban Forest and exploring with a women’s hiking group. Renee plans to continue a career in policy and social work to transform the justice system and support communities impacted by incarceration.