Nicholas Turner

Nicholas Turner joined the Vera Institute of Justice as its fifth president and director in August 2013. He is the first person of color to occupy the role. He is also the president and director of Vera Action. Under his leadership, Vera has committed itself to ending overcriminalization and mass incarceration in the United States. Vera works to shrink jails and prisons, elevate restoration and a commitment to human dignity, and redefine how public safety is delivered, with greater investment in public health and community. Under Nick’s leadership, Vera has focused its efforts on driving national change, tripled its budget, and strengthened its policy advocacy and ability to shape public debate.

Recent major initiatives from Vera include a successful campaign to eliminate the ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated students, creation of a multi-city network committed to providing representation to immigrants facing deportation, a multi-city effort with prosecutors to reduce racial disparities, and a network focused ending incarceration of girls.

Nick previously served at Vera from 1998 to 2007. During his first tenure, he guided the expansion of Vera’s national work, launching and directing Vera’s state sentencing and corrections program while supervising Vera’s domestic violence projects and the creation of its youth justice program. As vice president and chief program officer, Nick was responsible for the development and launch of the Prosecution and Racial Justice Program and the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons.

Prior to re-joining Vera, Nick was a managing director at the Rockefeller Foundation, where he was a member of the foundation’s senior leadership team. He provided leadership and strategic direction on key initiatives, including transportation policy reform in the U.S. to promote social, economic, and environmental interests, and redevelopment in New Orleans to advance racial and socioeconomic integration.

Earlier in his legal career, Nick was an associate in the litigation department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York from 1997 to 1998. He was a judicial clerk for the late Honorable Jack B. Weinstein, United States District Judge in Brooklyn, from 1996 to 1997. Before attending Yale Law School, he worked with court-involved, homeless and disconnected young people at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a Washington, DC youth services organization, from 1989 to 1993.

Nick is a current trustee for the Council on Criminal Justice and The Joyce Foundation. He is chair of the Advisory Board of the Policing Project at NYU Law and serves on the Leadership Advisory Council for the Tsai Leadership Program at Yale Law School as well as the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform. Nick has previously served on the boards of Common Justice, the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Living Cities, Center for Working Families, St. Christopher’s Inc., and the advisory council of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.