Vera mourns the loss of our colleague and justice champion Fred Patrick, and honors his life and legacy

Jul 02, 2019

We lost a good man this weekend. It is with profound sadness that we share news of the passing of our beloved colleague and friend Fred Patrick, director of our Center on Sentencing and Corrections (CSC). A mentor to many staff at Vera, Fred was a passionate and tireless advocate for a more just and humane criminal justice system.

A son of Baton Rouge, LA, Tuskegee University and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, Fred pursued a life of public service and generosity. He joined Vera in 2012 to lead our efforts to ensure that every person in prison who wished to pursue a college education could do so. In 2015, Fred was elevated to director of CSC, where he led his team to envision how a commitment to human dignity must be central even in prison, eliminate solitary confinement, reduce the use of jails, and increase access to public housing for people coming home from prison. There are thousands of people throughout the country who are thriving today because of Fred’s work.

Prior to joining Vera, Fred was an executive at both the Fortune Society, a reentry services organization, and NADAP, an agency providing workforce development and behavioral health services. He served as deputy commissioner for planning and programs at the NYC Department of Correction, commissioner of the NYC Juvenile Justice Department, and NYPD deputy commissioner for community affairs. Fred also taught at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and served on the board of trustees of the Petey Greene Program, which advances education in prisons, jails and detention centers, the Fortune Society, which supports reentry from incarceration as well as alternatives to incarceration, and Wesleyan Center for Prison Education, which has brought the transformative power of the liberal arts into Connecticut’s prisons.

We will remember not only Fred’s passion and dedication to his work. We will recall with great affection his kindness, his smile, his willingness to make time for anyone who needed his counsel, and his dedication to his family, friends, his hometown, and the New Orleans Saints. Thirty years in New York was not enough to make him a Giants or Jets fan. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, and all those who knew him and loved him, as we did and will continue to do. We will miss him greatly and will honor his memory by continuing to fight as he did for justice, as if he were still right here beside us.

We will plan a public ceremony for Fred this fall. In order to receive notice of the date and location, please send us an email at We also welcome you to share any fond memories or stories.