Vera Institute’s John Bae Receives the U.S. Department of Justice Second Chance Fellowship

April 21, 2022 - Today, the Vera Institute of Justice announced that the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) named John Bae, program manager with the Vera Institute of Justice’s Opening Doors project, as a Visiting Fellow. Bae is also one of two Fellows with lived experience with the criminal legal system, and as a Second Chance Fellow, he will lend his expertise on the barriers to reentry after incarceration to inform national policies and practices.

The Fellowship announcement comes during Second Chance Month, a nationwide effort to raise awareness of incarceration’s consequences on the future of system-involved people and the importance of second chances through education and access to housing and other government services. Each year, more than 600,000 people are released from state and federal prisons and are met with significant barriers in obtaining employment and stable housing, leading to individual, family, and community instability.

BJA’s selective Visiting Fellows program allows accomplished criminal legal system professionals to work alongside DOJ staff and researchers to inform criminal legal system strategies and programs. During the 24-month Fellowship, Bae will engage the voices of formerly incarcerated people to create statewide blueprints that address the barriers that can accompany a conviction history and how to best remove those barriers.

“The BJA Visiting Fellows program brings diverse and unique perspectives into national policy and program discussions. Centering the voices of system-impacted people in reshaping our approaches to reentry is critical to understanding and addressing their unmet needs,” said Nick Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice. “I am very proud that John advanced in this competitive program, and I look forward to seeing the ideas and solutions he will generate with the DOJ, communities, and, most importantly, people impacted by incarceration.”

Read more about this year’s Second Chance Fellows, John Bae and Angel Sanchez, in a recent blog post.