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Amy Fettig to Lead The Sentencing Project

The Sentencing Project concluded its months long search for a new executive director and has tapped human rights lawyer and a leading criminal justice expert Amy Fettig, the organization announced.

gavel 3577258 640 smallThe advocacy group boasts Fettig’s “outstanding reputation” for her work dealing with prison conditions as deputy director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s (ACLU) National Prison Project. In that role, she has litigated a number of federal class action suits under the Eighth Amendment and led national campaigns against solitary confinement. According to The Sentencing Project, Fettig has also fought against the practice of shackling pregnant women and is heavily engaged in public education efforts regarding justice reforms.

“Amy’s extensive litigation, legislative advocacy, and public policy experience on behalf of incarcerated individuals and her established reputation as an organizer, collaborator, and human rights activist makes her uniquely qualified to oversee the nationally recognized research and advocacy work that has been a hallmark of The Sentencing Project,” said Cynthia Jones, president of the board of directors of The Sentencing Project.

Fettig has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton College, a Master’s Degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law School, where she has taught as an adjunct professor, according to the announcement.


Amy Fettig @abfettig

"Thrilled & honored to be joining the tremendous @SentencingProj team working to end mass incarceration through innovative research, advocacy & public engagement!"

“I am thrilled to be joining this remarkable team at such a critical time in the fight to end mass incarceration nationwide,” Fettig said. “The Sentencing Project is uniquely positioned to use its research savvy and sophisticated advocacy to meet the new challenges and opportunities we face and I am honored to help them lead the way.”

At the National Prison Project, Fettig focused on claims dealing with mental and physical healthcare for prisoners, those in solitary confinement, victims of prison rape, sexual abuse and worked toward reforming conditions in juvenile facilities, according to the Practising Law Institute. She also served as director of the ACLU’s Stop Solitary campaign, which aims to end “the practice of extreme isolation in our nation’s prisons, jails and juvenile detention centers.”

Fettig will succeed Marc Mauer, who announced his retirement in the fall. He will be stepping down effective Wednesday, July 1, 2020 after 33 years at the Sentencing Project, according to the group. However, he will continue to be engaged in the organization despite leaving his current role. “I’m delighted that our Board has selected Amy Fettig to guide The Sentencing Project in the next phase of our organizational development,” said Mauer in a statement. “Amy brings wisdom, passion, and the skills necessary to challenge mass incarceration and to do so in a manner that promotes a more compassionate vision of public safety.”

Mauer has spearheaded criminal justice reform initiatives for nearly four decades and was named by The Atlantic as a scholar who “reframed how Americans view crime, race, and poverty in the public sphere,” according to the Sentencing Project. In 2018, Mauer was honored as a “Frederick Douglass 200” for his work as an individual who embodied the spirit of Douglass.

Originally a graduate of Stony Brook University, Mauer earned his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan, reads his biography.

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