Steven Pacheco was the inaugural Opportunity Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice. Working in the Center on Youth Justice, he used his lived experience within the criminal justice system and beyond to guide him through his research surrounding best reentry practices, as well as investigating young men of color’s efforts around seeking help following violent victimization.
In addition to his research work, he delivered a speech about the harsh effects of imprisonment, the power of opportunity and human beings' ability to change for the better at the commencement of Vera’s 10th Annual Gala. He was also cast to sit on several panel discussions, the most notable being an invite-only event alongside Vera President Nick Turner and Connecticut’s Commissioner of Corrections, Scott Semple. This panel centered around the CBS 60 Minutes' segment on a tour of a prison in Germany. The tour was organized by Vera and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, to learn about Germany's value for humane treatment and rehabilitation, rather than punishment, in treating their prison population.
Pacheco is an undergraduate who attends the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, majoring in Sociology. Growing up in the Highbridge section of The Bronx, witnessing social injustices has been a part of his everyday life. With this sort of upbringing, his desire and passion to combat these inequities emerged, and it is a major influence on his approach to policy reform. He can also be found doing activist work with various grass-root organizations to help end mass incarceration, improve immigrants’, workers’, and women’s rights, combat tuition hikes, and more. Steven enjoys writing, mentoring for at-risk youth, and creative arts in general.