Amanda Alexander

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Amanda Alexander

2017 Black Male Achievement Fellow
Founder of Detroit Justice Center

Amanda Alexander 2017 Black Male Achievement Fellow

Bold Idea 

Build equitable cities and remedy the impacts of incarceration in the U.S. by delivering community lawyering services, creating economic opportunities, and piloting Just City solutions.


Amanda Alexander leads a conversation about Detroit's future as a Just City. Credit: Chase Cantrell.

Amanda Alexander speaks about the intersection of criminal justice and economic equity at the 2015 State of Black Women in Michigan Summit. Credit: Danielle Atkinson 

The Detroit Justice Center (DJC) will promote inclusive economic development and catalyze change within the criminal justice system using a three-pronged community lawyering approach. DJC's Legal Services Practice will remove legal barriers such as warrants, criminal records, and fines that prevent criminal justice-involved individuals from participating in Detroit's economy, and deliver targeted support to community-based organizations. DJC's Economic Equity Practice will provide legal support for land trusts, housing co-ops, and enterprises led by returning citizens. DJC's Just City Innovation Lab will introduce and normalize alternatives to punitive justice through pilot programs, strategic partnerships, and communications.


Amanda Alexander, founder of the Detroit Justice Center, is a racial justice lawyer who works alongside community-based movements to end mass incarceration and build thriving and inclusive cities. As a 2013-2015 Soros Justice Fellow, she launched the Prison & Family Justice Project at Michigan Law School to provide legal representation to incarcerated parents and advocate for families divided by the prison and foster care systems. Amanda teaches sought after courses at the University of Michigan on movement lawyering and community organizing, and her research and writing have been published in numerous journals, books, and other media outlets. Previously she has worked with the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, the Bronx Defenders, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the Centre for Civil Society in Durban, South Africa. As an Ella Baker Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, she worked to devise alternatives to stop-and-frisk policing. Amanda received her JD from Yale Law School, her PhD in history from Columbia University, and her BA from Harvard College.

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