Vera Institute Names Fred Patrick Director of Center on Sentencing and Corrections

NEW YORK – The Vera Institute of Justice has named Fred Patrick director of its Center on Sentencing and Corrections (CSC) after a national search. Patrick, who joined Vera in 2012 to serve as the director of its national prison postsecondary education demonstration project, has worked on corrections issues for the bulk of his 25-year career in the criminal justice field, which includes leadership roles in New York City’s Departments of Correction and Juvenile Justice as well as the New York City Police Department.

In his new role, Patrick will lead Vera’s efforts to reduce over-incarceration and its negative consequences, both within correctional settings and in communities, as well as to assist sentencing and corrections officials with challenges such as shrinking budgets, overextended staff, crowded facilities, and the churning of repeat offenders through prisons and jails.

“Fred brings an insider’s knowledge, a reformer’s passion, and an essential tenacity to his new position,” Vera President Nicholas Turner said. “Fred has established himself as a leader capable of achieving ambitious goals and inspiring his colleagues to do the same. This is exactly what we need as Vera commits itself to the generational challenge of reducing unnecessary incarceration and its harms.”

Currently, Vera has a number of major efforts underway aimed at narrowing the net of criminal justice contact and incarceration in local justice systems, improving conditions of confinement and services to people incarcerated, and reducing the overuse of solitary confinement in correctional settings through its Segregation Reduction Project. It further advances this mission through research and publications. Recent publications include reviews of state-level sentencing reforms related to drug lawsmandatory minimums, and the collateral consequences people continue to face after completing their sentence.

Patrick joined Vera to direct the Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project—a project that aims to expand access to postsecondary education for people in prison and those recently released. The project—which currently operates in Michigan, New Jersey, and North Carolina—seeks to demonstrate that access to postsecondary education, combined with supportive reentry services, can increase educational credentials, reduce recidivism, and increase employability and earnings.

“Our over-reliance on incarceration has had debilitating effects not only on the men and women held in often dehumanizing conditions, but on their families and communities as well,” Patrick said. “Fortunately, there is momentum for change, and I am confident that we will continue to shape reform efforts that deliver safety and justice, as well as offer incarcerated individuals the opportunity to engage in meaningful programs designed to prepare them to successfully return to their communities and maintain productive, healthier, crime-free lives.”

Patrick began his career in New York City government with the Department of Correction in 1990 as director of resource development before eventually rising to the position of deputy commissioner for strategic planning and programs. He has also served the city as deputy criminal justice coordinator, deputy commissioner of the police department, and commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice. Most recently, Patrick served as the director of planning and operations for NADAP’s Substance Abuse Centralized Assessment Program and filled various leadership roles for the Fortune Society, for which he currently serves as a board member.

Patrick earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Tuskegee University and a Master in Public Affairs degree in public policy from Princeton University.

Patrick succeeds Peggy McGarry who retired earlier this month.