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Headshot 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 represented, engaged, and advocated 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 help these young women fight intergenerational poverty and change the trajectory of their lives. Collaborating with community partners helps 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

During the two-year Fellowship period, Tracie:

  • Provided full representation to over 90 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
  • Worked with State Representative Morgan Cephas on draft legislation to prohibit colleges and university in Pennsylvania from asking about certain criminal histories on their applications 
  • Joined two reentry coalitions, forging connections with reentry support providers and job developers
  • Facilitated multiple CLE events on record clearing support and employment advocacy 

Next Steps

Following her Fellowship, Tracie became the primary staff attorney for Community Legal Services’ Youth Justice Project, where she continued to meet the unique legal needs of girls with criminal records. Tracie is now the youth ombudsperson for the City of Philadelphia, where she works to improve the safety and quality of services for youth in residential placements.


Equal Justice Works Appoints Tracie Johnson to Its Board of Directors

Philadelphia Gains Its First Youth Ombudsperson

City of Philadelphia Names Tracie Johnson as City’s First Youth Ombudsperson

To Truly Reform Criminal Justice, Women Need More Access to Diversion Programs

Supporting Women in the Criminal Legal System Through Access to Diversionary Programs

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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