R.E.A.L. Talk – Justice Equity

Here’s what people are saying about R.E.A.L. Talks

"The webinar presented concrete challenges along with solutions which directly address how systemic racism is the driving force behind poverty and mass incarceration of Black people. "

"This webinar was all that it was promised to be and more."

“It was wonderful and very intricate when discussing issues and possible solutions."

When: October 29 from 9:30-10:30AM


  • Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of FPWA
  • Stanley Richards, Executive Vice President of the Fortune Society
  • Nick Turner, President of the Vera Institute of Justice

Session Summary:

Systemic racism drives both poverty and mass incarceration of low-income people of color, putting these communities especially at risk for justice system involvement. Join us as we discuss the systems that lead to higher rates of incarceration for Black and brown communities and the policies that must be reformed and advanced in order to address these inequities.

Jennifer Jones Austin
Moderator, CEO & Executive Director, FPWA
Jennifer Jones Austin, a child and family advocate, is Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), an anti-poverty, policy and advocacy organization with 170 member human services agencies operating throughout New York City. Mayor de Blasio appointed Ms. Jones Austin as Board Chair in March 2020. She has served as a Board Member since October 2014. Prior to joining FPWA, Ms. Jones Austin served as Senior Vice President of United Way NYC, Family Services Coordinator for Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Commissioner for the NYC Administration for Children's Services; Civil Rights Deputy Bureau Chief for Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and Vice President for LearnNow/Edison Schools Inc.
Ms. Jones Austin has chaired and served on several influential boards and commissions, including serving as Co-Chair of NYC Mayor de Blasio's Transition, Chair of the NYC Procurement Policy Board, and Co-Chair of the New York State Supermarket Commission. She currently is a Board Member of the National Action Network, the New York Blood Center, the NYC Board of Correction, and the Fund for Public Housing.
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Stanley Richards
Executive Vice President of the Fortune Society
Stanley Richards is the Executive Vice President of The Fortune Society (Fortune), a 52-year-old service and advocacy non-profit organization based in New York City whose mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration. A formerly incarcerated man of color with decades of experience in the criminal justice field, Stanley’s professional experience began in 1991 at Fortune, where he initially worked as a Counselor. Between 1997 and 2001, he served as the Deputy Director of Client Intervention at Hunter College Center on AIDS, Drugs and Community Health. After returning to Fortune and receiving a series of promotions, today, Stanley is the second-highest executive and has responsibilities in the overall management of Fortune and oversight of all direct service programs. He also represents Fortune’s fundraising and advocacy work, having taken on a leadership role in its David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy.
In 2014, Stanley was recognized by the Obama administration as a Champion of Change for his commitment to helping individuals impacted by the justice system. He also became the first formerly incarcerated person to be appointed by the City Council Speaker and serves as Vice Chair to the NYC Board of Correction, a regulatory oversight body for setting minimum standards of care, custody and control of people incarcerated in New York City jails. In June 2020, Stanley was appointed to lead the Working Group to End Punitive Segregation. Other appointments include the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform chaired by former NYS Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, which created and released a blueprint, “A More Just New York City”, for the future of criminal justice in New York City; the Working Group on Design, a subcommittee of the Justice Implementation Task Force, to ensure effective implementation of the “Smaller, Safer, Fairer: A Roadmap to Closing Rikers Island” initiative; the New York City Disconnected Youth Task Force which effort aims to examine the barriers that out-of-school and out-of-work youth face in enrolling in school or being employed; and the New York City Older Adult Reentry Task Force which will issue recommendations to address issues related to the post-incarceration reentry for older adults. He serves on a number of other committees and boards as well. Stanley graduated from Medaille College and completed the Columbia University, Graduate School of Business, Institute for Not-For-Profit Management, Executive Level Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Fellowship Program.
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Nick Turner
President of the Vera Institute of Justice
Nicholas Turner joined Vera as its fifth president and director in August, 2013. Under his leadership, Vera is pursuing core priorities of ending the misuse of jails, transforming conditions of confinement, and ensuring that justice systems more effectively serve America's growing minority communities. To that end, Vera is working across the country to reduce jail populations in major cities, shrink the number of people held in solitary confinement, and develop systems to ensure that police are held accountable for building public trust. Vera is also using new tools and leveraging its half-century of experience working on the frontlines of justice to shape public debate at a time when interest in justice is at a new height. Recent major initiatives include a high-level study tour of the German justice system that was covered by 60 Minutes, a multimedia public engagement campaign exploring the legacy of the 1994 Crime Bill, and a first-of-its-kind interactive data tool that sheds new light on the role jails play in mass incarceration.
Nick previously served at Vera from 1998 to 2007. During his first tenure, he developed ideas for demonstration projects aimed at keeping troubled youth out of the justice system and easing reentry for adult prisoners. He also guided the expansion of Vera’s national work, launching and directing Vera’s state sentencing and corrections initiative, while supervising Vera’s domestic violence projects and the creation of its youth justice program. As vice president and chief program officer, Nick was responsible for the development and launch of the Prosecution and Racial Justice Program and the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons. Prior to re-joining Vera, Nick was a managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation, where he was a member of the foundation’s senior leadership team and a co-leader of its global urban efforts. He provided leadership and strategic direction on key initiatives, including transportation policy reform in the U.S. to promote social, economic, and environmental interests, and redevelopment in New Orleans to advance racial and socioeconomic integration. Earlier in his legal career, Nick was an associate in the litigation department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York from 1997 to 1998. He was a judicial clerk for the Honorable Jack. B. Weinstein, Senior United States District Judge in Brooklyn from 1996 to 1997. Before attending Yale Law School, he worked with court-involved, homeless, and troubled young people at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a Washington, DC youth services organization, from 1989 to 1993. Nick is author of several op-eds, including “A Home After Prison” (the New York Times), “What We Learned from German Prisons” (with Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the New York Times), “The Steep Cost of America’s High Incarceration Rate” (with Robert Rubin, co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former U.S. Treasury secretary, the Wall Street Journal) and “Treating Prisoners with Dignity Can Reduce Crime” (with John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, National Journal’s The Next America). He has also published a number of articles on criminal justice, including Politics, Public Service, and Professionalism: Conflicting Themes in the Invention and Evaluation of Community Prosecution (with Chris Stone, 1999) and “The Cost of Avoiding Injustice by Guideline Circumventions,” in Federal Sentencing Reporter (with the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein, 1997). In 2015, Nick joined the advisory council of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a new, independent nonprofit aiming to eliminate the gaps in opportunity and achievement for boys and young men of color. He currently serves on the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform and the Advisory Board to New York City’s Children’s Cabinet. Nick has previously served on the boards of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Living Cities, Center for Working Families, and St. Christopher’s Inc.
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