Respected social justice advocate and educator Dr. Kirk Anthony James has been named Senior Director of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy at The Fortune Society, a nationally recognized prisoner re-entry agency in Harlem (and Queens), New York. Dr. James previously served as the Project Director for the Goldring Reentry Initiative and has been a member of the Fortune Society Executive Board of Directors since 2010.
In his new role, Dr. James will be responsible for developing and advancing Fortune’s criminal justice policy advocacy agenda. Additionally, he will work to create partnerships with other advocates and policymakers to advance criminal justice policy reforms that serve to remove practical and statutory roadblocks facing people who are working to reintegrate into society.
“We are enormously excited to have Dr. James join our senior executive team, said JoAnne Page, President and CEO of The Fortune Society. “I have grown to admire Kirk’s commitment to social justice and empowering individuals to change their lives. His expertise in education and re-entry issues will be invaluable as we continue to advocate for alternatives to incarceration and the removal of barriers facing people with criminal records.”
Dr. James said, “As an active member of the board, I have seen first hand how Fortune’s programs and services have not only influenced the way policy is shaped, but truly changed people’s lives. As a formerly incarcerated individual, I strongly believe that public policy must be informed by the experiences of people impacted as well as by the people working in and around justice issues, I will work diligently to advance Fortune’s advocacy agenda, ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard. I am thrilled to join JoAnne Page and the rest of Fortune’s talented team as we continue to enact reforms on both the local and national platforms.”
Prior to joining Fortune, Dr. James was a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania , School of Social Policy and Practice, where he also developed and led The Goldring Initiative (GRI). Created in response to the mass incarceration of predominantly poor people in the United States, the GRI initiative provides Master of Social Work students with opportunities to provide case management services to incarcerated men and women transitioning from Philadelphia Prisons pre and post release in an effort to reduce their likelihood of recidivism. The GRI also works to empower communities and organizations around issues of mass incarceration.
Dr. James also taught and developed courses at City College (CUNY), Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY), Temple University , School of Social Work and the College of New Rochelle , Rosa Parks Campus.
Dr. James holds a Doctorate in Clinical Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and is a certified social worker. He serves on a number of boards including the Advisory Board for Families for Freedom and The Reentry Support Project of Community College of Philadelphia’s Fox Rothschild Center for Law and Society. He’s also a member of the Council of Social Work Education and the National Association of Social Workers. He resides in Brooklyn .