Marc M. Howard is one of the country's leading voices and advocates for criminal justice and prison reform. He is a Professor of Government and Law, and the founding Director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative, at Georgetown University. He is also the Founder and President of the Frederick Douglass Project for Justice, a non-profit organization that launched in 2020.
Howard’s scholarly research addresses the deep challenges of contemporary democracy and the tragedy of criminal justice and prisons in America. The author of three books and dozens of academic articles, his work has received numerous awards. His most recent book is Unusually Cruel: Prisons, Punishment, and the Real American Exceptionalism.
Howard is also a prize-winning teacher who was recently awarded the Provost's Innovation in Teaching Award, as well as the American Political Science Association’s Distinguished Award for Civic and Community Engagement. His "Prisons and Punishment" course has become one of the most sought-after courses at Georgetown. And the students in his “Making an Exoneree” course—co-taught with his childhood friend, Marty Tankleff, who was himself wrongfully imprisoned for almost 18 years—re-investigate likely wrongful conviction cases and create documentaries that suggest innocence and advocate for exonerations. Their project has already resulted in the exonerations and releases of Valentino Dixon, Eric Riddick, and Keith Washington, with more to come.
Under Howard's leadership, the Prisons and Justice Initiative recently launched the Pivot Program for formerly incarcerated women and men to become entrepreneurs and business leaders, the Paralegal Program for formerly incarcerated jailhouse lawyers to become certified paralegals who are employed by major DC law firms, and the Prison Scholars Program, which offers both credit-bearing and non-credit courses to incarcerated students at the DC Jail.
Howard has also written for a broader popular audience, including op-eds in major newspapers such as the New York Times (in 2020, 2017, and 2006), Washington Post, and USA Today, along with short articles about the life lessons of sports in Tennis Magazine and Sports Illustrated. He has hosted events with celebrities such as the rapper Meek Mill. He was also featured in a recent documentary alongside Kim Kardashian West, who visited the DC Jail with him, and he made a short appearance on Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Howard received his B.A. in Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale University, his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and his J.D. from Georgetown University.
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