Jessica Jackson’s quest for justice began in a Georgia courtroom. The high-school dropout held her two-month-old daughter and watched helplessly as her husband was sentenced to six years in prison. At that moment, she decided to turn her shock into a crusade to change the justice system. As a single mother, she graduated college and law school. Today, she is leading the bipartisan movement to end excessive incarceration.
Jessica’s specialty is bringing political rivals together to pass bills considered “impossible.” As the bill’s main advocate, she led the drive to pass 2018’s “First Step Act.” The New York Times called the law “the most substantial justice reform in a generation;” it has already helped free more than 7,000 people.
While leading her national initiative, #cut50, Jessica helped ban the shackling of jailed pregnant women in 14 states. Her “Dignity for Incarcerated Women” campaign enlisted formerly incarcerated women and dozens of celebrities to deepen the focus on women’s issues. At the helm of #cut50, Jessica built the biggest national grassroots network for bipartisan reform, #cut50’s Empathy Network. She also produced the first-ever Bipartisan Criminal Justice Summit, attracting leaders as diverse as Newt Gingrich and then-Attorney General Eric Holder.
Jessica has led not only on the national level but also served as the youngest city council member and Mayor of Mill Valley, California. Today, she now helps lead REFORM Alliance, an organization where she is continuing her work to end mass incarceration and mass supervision.
Jessica turned her hopelessness into hope for millions.