Photo of Tracie Johnson

Tracie Johnson

  • Hosted by Community Legal Services of Philadelphia
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Law school Temple University Beasley School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Tracie represents, engages, and advocates for young women of color in Philadelphia who have criminal records to increase their access to meaningful employment opportunities and fight intergenerational poverty.

Young women of color with criminal records face enormous barriers to gaining employment in fields such as childcare, health care, and cosmetology due to their criminal records. Supports and services that connect individuals with criminal records to job opportunities are male-oriented and often limit career options to positions in areas like warehousing and truck-driving. Legal services will help these young women fight intergenerational poverty and change the trajectory of their lives. Collaborating with community partners will help meet the intersecting needs of women who have come into contact with the criminal justice system due to histories of trauma, poverty, mental health issues, and substance abuse.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past year, Tracie has:

  • Provided full representation to over 60 clients, clearing juvenile and adult criminal records, waiving court fines and fees, restoring jobs, and opening doors to higher education
  • Conducted trainings for job developers, as well as affected youth and women, about employers’ use of criminal records
  • Testified before City Council about the urgent need for Philadelphia-area colleges and universities to ban the criminal records question from their applications
  • Joined two reentry coalitions, forging connections with reentry support providers and job developers
  • Participated in multiple public speaking engagements about her project and published an article in The Legal Intelligencer about her work utilizing Pennsylvania’s vacatur law to clear prostitution and related convictions for women and girls who suffered sexual exploitation

Next Steps

In the next year, Tracie plans to:

  • Continue direct representation of clients and provision of trainings and on-site legal clinics, incorporating pro-bono support as possible
  • Work with partners and young women to begin formulating recommendations to the City of Philadelphia on developing a tailored career pathways program
  • Develop impact litigation strategy to challenge unconstitutional state laws that bar entry based on criminal records

Media

Good Law | Bad Law #143 - Compassion and Education vs. Stigma: A Conversation w/ Tracie Johnson

Accessing Opportunity for Exploited Youth

Tracie Johnson '13 - Service: The Rent We Pay

A Plea to Build Something Better

Using Innovation to Address Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

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