Seth Freed Wessler

Brooklyn, NY

Seth Wessler will report on the rapid growth of for-profit federal prisons used exclusively to hold noncitizens with criminal convictions.

Wessler is a journalist focusing on enterprise and investigative stories about immigration, criminal justice, inequality, and social services. He has been a staff reporter for, a researcher for the Applied Research Center (now Race Forward), and a visiting scholar at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, where he was the recipient of the 2013 Reporting Award.

Wessler’s 2011 and 2012 reporting for, which revealed that there are thousands of U.S. citizen children stuck in foster care after their parents had been detained or deported by federal immigration authorities, won a Hillman Prize, and led to state legislative and federal administrative action on the issue. His work has been cited by a wide range of outlets including the Associated Press, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, and NPR; and he has reported stories for, This American Life, Elle, PRI’s The World, and NPR’s LatinoUSA. He holds a degree in political theory from Hampshire College.