Justice-in-Education Scholar and Formerly Incarcerated Activist Jarrell E. Daniels Delivers TED Talk

May 24, 2019 JIE Updates

Today, Jarrell E. Daniels, an Open Society Youth Activist Fellow, Annie E. Casey Youth Advisory Council member and Justice-in-Education Scholar at Columbia University, will be featured by national non-profit powerhouse, ‘TED’ for his recent TED Talk: Education Everywhere. In his presentation, Daniels promotes the advancement of joint educational experiences that build functional bridges between incarcerated people and those entrusted to govern our criminal justice system.

Daniels himself spent six years in prison where he was enrolled alongside prosecutors in a unique class called Inside Criminal Justice. The seminar course, a combined effort between the Center for Justice at Columbia University, the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the District Attorney of New York (DANY) Academy, is built to foster relationships and collaboration between these traditionally adversarial classmates as they develop new strategies for facilitating reform and lowering recidivism, culminating in jointly authored policy proposals. The bonds developed and lessons learned in that course continue to inform Daniels’ work since his release.

“It’s been a long road from my neighborhood, to life in a shelter, to prison, to Columbia, and now the TED stage,” said Daniels. “It has never felt more clear that my story and life’s work have the power to breakdown societal walls that keep incarcerated people locked up, and locked out of too many discussions about how to build a brighter future.”

With the Justice Ambassadors Youth Council modelled on the Inside Criminal Justice course, Daniels is bringing policy makers together with young community members to work across differences to improve social challenges facing youth.

“We are thrilled to see TED highlight such an important lesson, from this remarkable young man,” said Geraldine Downey, Director of Columbia’s Center for Justice. “Jarrell is living proof of what is possible when we stop judging people by the worst moments in their lives, and start empowering them through education and a criminal justice system structured to help them rebuild their lives.”

Press release for immediate publication.
Columbia University, Center for Justice
New York, New York – May 24, 2019
Contact: Claudia P. Rincón (, 212-854-0127