Marc Howard

Founding Director

Marc Howard

Marc M. Howard is one of the country’s leading voices and advocates for restoring humanity to the American criminal punishment system. He is a Professor of Government and Law and the Director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University, which he founded in 2016. Under Howard’s leadership, the Prisons and Justice Initiative provides educational opportunities for incarcerated individuals and hosts reentry programs for returning citizens. He is also the Founder and President of the Frederick Douglass Project for Justice, a non-profit organization that launched in 2020 and allows members of free society to connect with people in prisons in order to discover firsthand our common humanity and advocate for systemic change.

Howard’s scholarly research addresses the deep challenges of contemporary democracy and the tragedy of criminal justice and prisons in America. The author of three books and dozens of academic articles, his work has received numerous awards. His most recent book is Unusually Cruel: Prisons, Punishment, and the Real American Exceptionalism (new window).

Howard is also a prize-winning teacher, whose “Prisons and Punishment” course has become one of the most sought-after courses at Georgetown. The students in his “Making an Exoneree” course — co-taught with his childhood friend, Marty Tankleff, who was himself wrongfully imprisoned for almost 18 years — re-investigate likely wrongful conviction cases and create documentaries that suggest innocence and advocate for exonerations. Their project has already contributed to the exonerations and releases of Valentino Dixon, Eric Riddick, Keith Washington, Arlando “Tray” Jones III, and Kenneth Bond, with more to come.

For more information, see his personal website