What Difference Can a Soros Justice Fellow Make?

The criminal justice system in the United States is in urgent need of reform. But what can one person do? The Soros Justice Fellowships program—which funds outstanding individuals whose work advances a more fair and sensible justice system, and which recently announced its newest class of fellows—offers support in the following ways:

New and emerging leaders.We support future leaders from all walks of life: people like Esi Mathis, who do the work not because they’ve been groomed for it, but because life circumstances have demanded it of them. Or people like Gina Clayton, whose record of achievement and commitment to core justice reform issues is a harbinger of an exceptionally bright future. And it includes people like Starcia Ague, who possess what might be called the “necessary intangibles”: grit, passion, and resilience.

Promising ideas and approaches. We fund individuals who’ve already established themselves in their respective fields who are now positioned to pursue work that experiments, anticipates emerging issues, or creatively seizes upon opportunities. Whether it’s challenging the ways discriminatory policing affects women of color (Andrea Ritchie) or promoting the use of storytelling in death penalty plea negotiations (Leslie Jill Patterson), the work of the fellows informs the larger body of Open Society’s U.S. criminal justice reform efforts.

Stories that spur debate and conversation. It’s increasingly rare for journalists and other media makers to have the time and resources to pursue vital but marginalized, controversial, or unpopular topics. We support those who have the skills and connections to cut through the noise. Projects can cover issues like sentencing policy from a crime survivor’s perspective (Mark Obbie) or injustices associated with DNA databases (Osagie Obasogie).

So, what does this all add up to? An abiding belief in the capacity of a single individual, at the right moment in time, to make a difference. But we also acknowledge that each fellow’s work exists within, and depends upon, an expansive network of individuals and organizations, and expect that their work will continue to evolve and make ongoing contributions to the fields in which they work.

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We need you in Michigan very badly. Lois DeMott is a great person to help Michigan. We have roughly 15,000 mentally ill persons that need the sentences, the system to be reformed. I said to MDOC several times and will maintain NAMI has a proven successful Family to Family Program that CAN help these people.
BLESS YOU FOR ALL YOU DO.
Pam DeVaney DuVal
Board of Director, NAMI Michigan

I would like to be a Soros justice fellow as I am working for the cause of human rights for two decades.

There is no highest level of giving back to the society other than advancing ideas that will create a free society where individual choices are respected.

I'm confident that the the fellows' contributions towards highlighting weaknesses of the United States criminal justice system will make a difference because the will of the people can move mountains.

I have been for the last three decades working to reform the Criminal Justice System both as a citizen of the United States and a Negro African American man incarcerated within the Illinois Department of Corrections.

I have been working in the criminal justice sector with a number of International Organisations; including UN in East Africa, particularly Somaliland, Puntland and now Mogadishu to reform the Criminal Justice sector including Prison reform.
The root cause of some of the serious crimes in the region is lack of proper education system (Lack of good Governance and high unemployment).
Creative skill training in and out of prisons to prevent young minds to be attracted into getting involved in organised crimes is a challenge; which I have to make way and make it possible.

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