James JeterFounder and Program Director of Civic Allyship Hartford, CT Award Year: 2022
James Jeter is a criminal justice fellow at Propel Capital, where he works to advance the rights, particularly voting rights, of people affected by the criminal legal system. He is also Founder and Program Director of the Civic Allyship Program, with a curriculum he designed for Yale students on community leadership and power-building at Yale’s Dwight Hall, the largest campus-based student-run service organization in the country. Additionally, he is Co-Director of the Full Citizen’s Coalition, which includes Unlock the Vote to secure voting rights, and research and advocacy around prosecutor and police accountability. Previously incarcerated for nearly 20 years, Jeter is dedicated to the cause of prison education and has sought opportunities to apply his own experience to benefit those still in prison or returning home. While incarcerated he completed college courses and was a member of the Lifers Program, where he worked with at-risk youth, helped raise money for local food banks, and worked with the Hartford Police Chief to address gun violence in Hartford. Upon his release, he was a policy analyst at the Hartford Community Loan Fund, where he concentrated his efforts on housing and food justice policies. In his release, he has served on the board of Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education, has been honored with the 100 Men of Color Distinction, led participatory budgeting with Hartford City Council, and has returned to Cheshire Correctional Institution to speak to residents of its TRUE Unit. Jeter was recently named a Galaxy Gives Fellow and was the inaugural Tow Justice Fellow at the Yale Prison Initiative.