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Bethany Young

Bethany Young is a lawyer, researcher, and policy expert with deep experience conducting legal and policy research about social stratification and its adverse effects on individuals in academic, professional, and legal settings. She worked directly with clients and other stakeholders for several years, including federal and state government officials, donors, and community organizers during her time at the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama and the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in North Carolina. In these roles, Bethany provided representation in capital appeals and pushed policymakers to reconsider the breadth and administration of the death penalty. She also led community discussions about racial and economic inequality, worked on a team to create resources to educate the public about racial injustice’s history, and participated in efforts to remove confederate monuments in southern cities.


Along with Bethany’s legal background, her social science research experience gives her a unique lens on criminal legal systems and policies. Her doctoral studies and independent research centered on intersectional experiences of structural inequity. She used qualitative methods to gather firsthand accounts of these experiences. This training prepared Bethany for her community-centered research and advocacy work as Project Director for the Prison Research and Innovation Initiative and the DC Police Reform Commission and Deputy Director for DC Justice Lab.


Bethany received a B.A. from Spelman College, a J.D. from The George Washington University Law Schol, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University.

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