Appointed to the American Friends Service Committee for the project "Testimonies of the Detained: Understanding the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Incarcerated People"


ACLS Leading Edge Fellowships

PhD field of study

PhD, Religion, Vanderbilt University

Position Description

Founded in 1917, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Among its other programs, AFSC works to end mass incarceration, improve conditions for people who are in prison, stop prison privatization, and promote a reconciliation and healing approach to criminal justice issues. In New Jersey, the AFSC supports people in prison by monitoring and documenting human rights abuses, providing direct legal representation in immigration cases, as well as advocating for change at the policy level and oversight at the community level. AFSC’s Prison Watch Program and Immigrant Rights Program have worked together on initiatives including lowering phone rates at NJ County Jails, ending solitary confinement, and more recently, on a campaign to #FreeThemAll, which focuses on advocating for release of all people in prison as we live through the dangerous COVID-19 pandemic. Because of AFSC’s long history of work in these areas, the organization immediately recognized the impact that COVID-19 was having in prisons, jails, and immigration detention centers in New Jersey and throughout the country. The Leading Edge Fellow at AFSC will help document this ongoing situation, and provide recommendations to policymakers for the future. Their primary project will be to research and develop a report on incarceration under COVID-19 that highlights the experiences and needs of people in prisons, jails and immigration detention centers in New Jersey. Drawing from the testimonies and stories of incarcerated and detained people, the report will highlight the troubling way in which individuals who complete their criminal sentences are often turned over to ICE for additional detention, as well as the chaotic conditions of release from detention under COVID-19. The report will incorporate policy and practice recommendations gleaned from people in prison, their families and communities, and other advocates.