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American Friends Service Committee—Michigan Criminal Justice Program

Organization location

Ypsilanti, Michigan


Natalie Holbrook

Description of the Fellow’s Role

In August of 2018, AFSC’s MCJP received a $25,000 to hold a national convening on life and long sentences in Michigan in summer of 2019 (Ending Perpetual Punishment convening). This work comes as a direct result of years of lifting up individual cases of long-termers in trying to help prepare people for parole and commutation processes. See The fellow will assist in research and planning for the convening and will be actively involved in producing a white paper/report in follow-up to the convening. The fellow will help research and coordinate the following:

  • Thorough literature review of both activist and scholarly work on life and long sentences in the United States, develop comprehensive materials for Ending Perpetual Punishment convening;
  • Work with planning team to develop goals and objectives for convening;
  • Participate in convening;
  • And help distill learnings and collected documentation from time together at convening into white paper/report/product for online use for release and circulation in both Michigan and nationally
    • This will be work done in committee, but the fellow will be a lead researcher, documenter, creator, and writer.
  • The fellow will work alongside the three existing staff members: Natalie Holbrook, Korbin Felder, and Demetrius Titus. The AFSC Michigan Criminal Justice Program likewise has a group of 10-15 interns and community volunteers who assist with the work.

Time Commitment and Stipend (i.e., schedule, days per week)

  • 30 hours/week for 12 weeks between May – August.
  • $7,200

About the American Friends Service Committee—Michigan Criminal Justice Program

Through advocacy (individual/policy), community-organizing, experience-based education models, written resources, and workshops we help people in prison navigate various problems related to the conditions of their confinement. We hear from approx. 2000 incarcerated men and women annually, from almost all MDOC prisons concerning the conditions of their confinement. We work to provide tools to incarcerated folks so that they can advocate for themselves. We help incarcerated people navigate the MDOC and deal with issues such as: access to parole, access to quality mental healthcare and healthcare, security custody, and segregation (solitary confinement). We monitor and identify systemic abuses, civil and human rights violations, and work on larger systemic reform issues that help prisoners and their loved ones to cope better with the violence inherent in a punishment-based system. We do our work through an intersectional justice lens, with a focus on racial justice. To broaden our limited capacity and to train the next generation of social justice advocates, we often utilize young people and community volunteers to help us with this work.