Justice Fellows Policy Program

The Education Trust (Ed Trust) is excited to launch our Justice Fellows Policy Program, a vibrant and nurturing community of practice of directly impacted, formerly incarcerated individuals. The Justice Fellows will use their experience and hard-earned expertise to inform, review, amplify, and reflect on Ed Trust’s policy recommendations for justice-impacted students. Additionally, Justice Fellows will inform and guide Ed Trust’s structured engagements and convenings at the intersection of higher education policy and the criminal legal system.

Ed Trust looks to invite six individuals who are formerly incarcerated or directly impacted to serve as Justice Fellows for the inaugural cohort. People who have been incarcerated or are directly impacted include those who have been confined in a jail, prison, or detention camp, those with arrests and/or convictions but no incarceration, and those with only a juvenile record. Individuals do not need to have a college education or have taken college courses. However, they must have a strong desire to gain and develop higher education policy skills, and a passion for providing directly impacted individuals with access to higher education. Early-career professionals who are formerly incarcerated or directly impacted are also eligible to apply. “Early career” means not having more than five years of professional experience advocating on issues at the intersection of higher education policy and the criminal legal system.

Justice Fellows will need to commit to an estimated 100 total hours for the duration of the program, or ten hours per month. Justice Fellows will be provided a $30,000 stipend for their participation and are expected to engage in the activities mentioned above, as well as writing op-eds, presenting at Ed Trust convenings, reviewing and co-authoring publications, providing interviews, providing technical assistance, and attending monthly professional development meetings.

If you fit the above criteria, we strongly encourage you to apply! Justice Fellows will be selected based on their interests, experience, and program fit. If accepted, we will formalize your participation through executing a Memorandum of Understanding (contract) with The Education Trust, committing to the aforementioned activities and expectations. Please note, Ed Trust will provide Fellows with a laptop and resources for internet service.

Eligibility

  • Formerly incarcerated or directly impacted people, which we define as those who have been incarcerated, those with arrests and/or convictions but no incarceration, and those with only a juvenile record, with interests in issues at the intersection of higher education policy and the criminal legal system;
  • An early-career professional, formerly incarcerated or directly impacted, with no more than five years of professional experience advocating on issues at the intersection of higher education policy and the criminal legal system. Please note, current or former employment with a policy or higher education organization is not required;
  • Explicit interest and passion for higher education policies affecting justice-impacted students;
  • Availability to attend all Ed Trust structured engagements and convenings, and monthly professional development meetings;
  • 18 years of age or older.

Expectations

  • Collaborating with Ed Trust’s teams (P-12, government affairs, communications, and partnership and engagement), Unlock Higher Ed Coalition, and Pell Restoration Collaboration (a group of advocacy organizations collaborating to restore Pell grants for incarcerated individuals) to provide support and expertise;
  • Providing policy recommendations, technical assistance, and innovations for issues related to justice-impacted students;
  • Reviewing and providing feedback on Ed Trust work related to the intersection of higher education policy and the criminal legal system, at least once during the fellowship;
  • Joining Ed Trust for monthly virtual meetings that will include higher education policy and criminal justice reform content and professional development;
  • Participating in at least one public opportunity to discuss higher education policy and intersections with the criminal legal system (i.e., blog, brief, social media event, video, etc.);
  • Traveling and touring states to engage in discussion about policy solutions, if resources and safety allow.

The fellowship application is due by noon (EST) on November 23rd, and selected fellows will be notified by the end of January. The fellowship program will begin from January 2021 to March 2022 and will be facilitated virtually, including structured convenings. Please note that in the event it is safe to travel and convene according to CDC guidelines, travel and lodging costs will be covered by The Education Trust. To be directed to the application, please click on the link below.

The Education Trust has been an active participant in the federal advocacy effort to lift the ban on Pell Grants for students who are incarcerated, supporting the efforts of the Unlock Higher Ed Coalition and others. Our website, https://edtrust.org/lift_the_ban, houses advocacy materials, videos, and activities and events we have held in support of this effort. Central to our work is elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals as leaders and experts. Thus, we’re excited to build on our efforts by launching a new Justice Fellows Policy Program to gain first-hand knowledge and insight from those directly impacted by existing and proposed policies.