The Open Society Institute has announced the Soros Justice Fellows for 2008, a group of eighteen scholars, lawyers, advocates, and journalists who will receive a total of more than $1.1 million to support their efforts to reform the American justice system.
The fellows, who will each receive a twelve- to eighteen-month stipend ranging from $45,000 to $79,500, are working on the local, state, and national levels to reform indigent defense, reduce juvenile incarceration, improve prison conditions, and address critical issues such as death penalty reform, racism in the criminal justice system, prison growth and privatization, and the reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals into society.
The fellows, who come from eight states, Washington, D.C., and Northern Ireland, include a community organizer who fights to protect the rights of non-citizen detainees; a lawyer who compares his own treatment in the criminal justice system with that of his clients on death row to spark debate about capital punishment; and a man and woman on the opposite sides of a wrongful rape conviction who now work together to raise awareness about the problems with eyewitness testimony.
"America's criminal justice system is broken, and too often perpetuates inequality rather than ensuring justice," said Ann Beeson, director of the Open Society Institute's U.S. programs. "The Soros Justice Fellows are developing innovative solutions to expose the deep flaws in the current system and to restore justice for all."
For a complete list of the 2008 fellows and descriptions of their projects, visit the OSI Web site.