The Open Society Foundations has announced its 2016 class of Soros Justice Fellows.
Fifteen fellows working in seven states will receive a total of $1.2 million in support of their efforts to challenge long-standing assumptions underlying the U.S. criminal justice system and push for change. Each fellow will receive a stipend of between $58,700 and $110,250 to work full-time on projects lasting between twelve and eighteen months.
The 2016 Soros Justice Fellows include journalist Isaac Bailey, who will explore the issues of crime, race, punishment, and the effect of incarceration on families across generations; Mariame Kaba, who will support and advocate for women (trans and non-trans) survivors of sexual and physical violence who also live under threat of arrest and incarceration; Ryan Lo, who will use digital media storytelling to change the narrative about people returning from prison; and Reyna Montoya, who will organize people directly affected by the immigration detention system to create community healing through art, change the narrative to emphasize the humanity of people in detention, and create policy recommendations aimed at ending the harsh and unjust treatment of undocumented immigrants.
"Criminal justice policy is at a critical juncture, with momentum to make meaningful changes to address mass incarceration, sentencing reform, and policing practices, to name just a few issues," said Leonard Noisette, who oversees the fellows program at Open Society. "We are proud to help promote the work of the 2016 class of Soros Justice Fellows, who will add new ideas, new leadership, and new voices to a conversation that this country urgently needs."