Sunday, May 06, 2018

Apply by June 1 for year-long fellowship, starting with expense-paid trip to NYC, on covering rural jails and prisons

Photo by mksfly via Flickr
Jail populations are rising in rural areas, partly because prosecutors delay trials in the hope of extracting guilty pleas. Jails have also become warehouses for the mentally ill, and many are outdated and badly cramped. There is a need for more enterprise and investigative reporting on jails on rural jails and prisons, and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York is trying to help with a program called "Rural (In)Justice: Covering America's Hidden Jail Crisis."

On July 10-11, the college’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice will hold a two-day conference to start a year-long fellowship program to "strengthen the capacity of journalists in rural and smaller jurisdictions to investigate the causes of the growth in jail populations, and report on policy remedies and alternatives," says the center, which will select up to 30 journalists for fellowships, which include a required, all-expense paid trip to the conference.

The conference, on the John Jay campus, "will bring journalists together with leading practitioners, researchers and officials who are involved in jail and incarceration issues for in-depth, on-the-record discussions," the center says. In the year that follows, the fellows will have online “refresher” sessions with sources and policymakers and get research assistance for their reporting projects.

The center will select fellows through a competitive process, which will give special preference to journalists in small or rural areas, or those covering state capitals. Applicants should provide biographies of 100 to 150 words, a supporting letter from a senior editor or assigning editor and a brief description of projects underway or contemplated relating to jail/rural justice issues. Freelance journalists are also eligible, as long as they fit program criteria.

Applicants are encouraged to highlight any work in progress that would benefit from their participation. Fellows will be expected to have produced for publication one or several stories related to their project proposals within six months of the conference close. Their work may be posted in The Crime Report, the center's online criminal justice news and resource network.

The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. Friday, June 1. Selections will be announced the following week. To apply, click here. Questions? Contact journalism coordinator Maurice Possley at or project administrator Ricardo Martinez at

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