The Justice Fellowship, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is a pilot program that aims to empower justice-involved individuals by recognizing and incorporating their lived experiences to envision a more equitable justice system. Participants will bring their expertise to spaces and organizations where they've traditionally been unheard, gaining insights into the criminal legal system's intricacies, organization and history. The ultimate goal is to integrate fellows into policy and program discussions — fostering a broader network of community experts ready to contribute to decision-making tables.

The initiative seeks to cultivate future leaders, dismantle the stigma of previous incarceration, and eliminate barriers to reentry, change, and reintegration. It also envisions a replicable model for broader positive change with a lasting impact on individuals and communities.

The Cohort

After a rigorous and competitive selection process, ten outstanding individuals with diverse backgrounds have been selected. What unites them is a shared experience of overcoming adversity including the firsthand challenges related to incarceration. Despite facing formidable obstacles, they have demonstrated remarkable resilience and gained valuable insights from their experiences. Now committed to giving back to their communities, this inaugural cohort exclusively comprises individuals with lived experience of incarceration, ready to create a transformative and impactful experience.

Frequently Asked Questions