Jessica Bird F'19, F'17

Jessica  Bird
Communications Project Manager
Center for Court Innovation

Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows 2019
Center for Court Innovation
Appointed as Communications Project Manager, Center for Court Innovation
PhD, History, Temple University

The Center for Court Innovation is a unique nonprofit organization that seeks to create a more effective and humane justice system by designing, implementing, and operating programs to test new ideas and solve problems; performing original research to determine what works (and what doesn’t); and providing expert assistance to justice reformers around the world. The Communications Project Manager will help the Center improve the effectiveness of its public outreach by coordinating numerous products—including reports, podcasts, videos, and information graphics— around key themes and messages. The project manager will create and plan the release of new policy papers, videos, etc., by thinking through the ideal presentation on the Center’s website, on social media, and through targeting key audiences by email or other means. The project manager also will conceive and plan events—such as panel discussions, workshops and webinars—to promote the Center’s work and educate the public on the urgent need for justice reform.

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2017
Doctoral Candidate
Temple University
Do the Hustle: Municipal Regulation of New York City’s Underground Economy, 1970-Present

The United States’ underground economy has grown strikingly since the 1970s, reflecting consumer demand for cheap prices and workers’ search for alternative sources of income as manufacturing jobs declined and federal support for cities disappeared. Far from unregulated, however, the underground economy has been managed in crucial ways, revealing a fundamental paradox in free market rhetoric. This was particularly striking in New York City in the latter decades of the twentieth century. Facing budgetary pressure and calls from business and neighborhood organizations to clean up the city, politicians sought to simultaneously extract revenue from the underground economy and regulate it out of existence. By the end of the twentieth century, a set of uneven government responses to the underground economy increased mass surveillance over public space usage and contributed to rising income inequality in the city, cutting off needed sources of income for workers.