Brian Ferguson stands outside with Healy Hall in the background.
Category: Alumni

Title: Prison Justice and Reform Advocate, Alumnus Shares His Story With Seniors

Date Published: May 3, 2019

The Georgetown alumnus’ advocacy and commitment to social and racial justice through prison reform and support for returning citizens is closely aligned with Georgetown’s work.

“Creating new and innovative programs and opportunities for previously incarcerated people is something that I consider a distinct honor to be able to do for a living,” Ferguson says. “Dostoevsky said societies could be most fairly judged by how they treat their prisoners. The idea being that those who have the least and are otherwise deemed as without value are often the most in need of assistance.”

Prisons and Justice

Last year, the university launched the Pivot Program, which aims to prepare returning citizens in DC for positions as both entrepreneurial leaders and productive employees.

The program is a collaboration among the university’s Prisons and Justice Initiative (PJI), Georgetown College and the McDonough School of Business with support from Ferguson’s office, the DC Department of Employment Services and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.

PJI director Marc Howard, professor of government at Georgetown, served as a mentor and advisor to Ferguson during his studies, and they now work together as DC community partners through Pivot and other programs.

Remarkable and Inspiring

“Brian Ferguson embodies everything that Georgetown is and aspires to be,” Howard says. “He has dedicated his life to pursuing knowledge, challenging injustice and helping others. I’m thrilled to see him share his remarkable and inspiring story with the Georgetown community at Senior Convocation.”

Earlier this year, MORCA and Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies graduated nine returning citizens as paralegals to work at local law firms.

“I have worked closely with many agencies, corporations and institutions on these issues, but I have had no greater partner than Georgetown,” Ferguson says. “From the top down, Georgetown’s investment into the city and into creating so many opportunities for returning citizens has made me even more honored to be an alumnus.”

In March he participated in a panel discussion on the power of education behind bars that featured award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns.

Ferguson says he’s looking forward to studying at Oxford.

“I really want to continue working with social and public policies, especially as it relates to the criminal justice system and racial equity,” he says.