Each month, the Office of Sponsored Programs will spotlight a different PI and their research. If you are interested in being featured in our next spotlight, please email Please be sure to provide us with an abstract (3-5 paragraphs) about your research, explanation of your recent project, the amount your project (s) were funded for, special events that you are hosting or coordinating, obstacles or challenges you faced during the application process, if applicable, and a photo of yourself.   

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Dr. Dreisinger (L) and the National Restorative Justice team in Costa Rica

Baz Dreisinger, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of English
John Jay College of  Criminal Justice

Dr. Baz Dreisinger is a Professor in the English Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Dr. Dreisinger works at the intersection of race, crime, culture and justice. She earned her Ph.D. in English from Columbia University, specializing in American and African-American studies. At John Jay she is the Founding Academic Director of John Jay's Prison-to-College Pipeline program, which offers college courses and reentry planning to incarcerated men at Otisville Correctional Facility, and broadly works to increase access to higher education for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals.

Baz Dreisinger was awarded a grant by an international philanthropy for a major project for her Incarceration Nations Network (INN). INN is a global network and think tank that supports, instigates and popularizes innovative prison reform efforts around the world. Their work is groundbreaking – a high-profile, collective effort to address incarceration from a global perspective and in a creative, accessible way. INN works toward peace and community safety via connecting global justice work by:

· Raising awareness about mass incarceration and the challenges of a prison-based system of justice in mainstream international contexts.

· Connecting the dots between efforts in myriad countries, creating a global network of forward-thinking justice workers who consistently collaborate and learn from each other.

· Supporting and promoting global organizations doing innovative, effective work related to incarceration, in ways that build safer communities and reduce recidivism.

· Globally changing the narrative about prisons and the people in them by producing informative, accessible content and events related to incarceration and community safety; when appropriate, supporting strides made by governments in this arena by translating and amplifying progressive programs and policy changes to the masses.

· Offering a wide-reaching international platform to those directly impacted by the justice system to lead the movement for its reform.

As part of this, INN is documenting the work of worldwide initiatives on prison reform and rehabilitation, representing a range of countries, designs, focus populations, goals, and resources. They are building a multimedia platform that will provide accessible and engaging content about progressive prison and justice reimagining work around the world. This platform is meant to speak to people directly affected – currently and formerly incarcerated people and their families – as well as policymakers, people who work in the justice system, researchers and the general public. Through this project, we hope to demonstrate that despite dramatic differences in politics, policies, funding, and prison conditions, organizations in different parts of the world can learn from one another and work together toward common goals of reducing incarceration and improving access to justice, safety, and human rights. 

The platform will be launched at international convenings which will be held in September-October 2019, in New York City and in Johannesburg, South Africa; they will feature a range of invitees: directly impacted people, practitioners, government officials, influencers and celebrities, relevant academics and researchers, funders and philanthropies. All participating organizations will be invited to send a representative to these events, and there will be funding available to support travel expenses for some organizations.

Dr. Dreisinger is the author of Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World which was named a notable book of 2016 by the Washington Post. She was named a 2018 Global Fulbright Scholar and via INN, is collaborating with partners in several countries—including Jamaica, Trinidad, Ghana and Brazil—to launch Prison-to-College Pipelines. P2CP-South Africa launched on Mandela Day 2018 at Brandvlei Prison in the Western Cape.