Jarrell E. Daniels


Jarrell E. Daniels is an Open Society Youth Activist Fellow and Sophomore at Columbia University’s
School of General Studies. He is the founder of the Justice Ambassadors Youth Council Program at
Columbia University’s Center for Justice that brings New York City youth together with city officials to
discuss community challenges and to co-author policy proposals that seek to reform systems and
institutions. His primary focus is bringing policymakers together with community members to work
across differences to improve social challenges, particularly challenges facing youth. In his work of
explaining to young people the extent to which mass incarceration and criminalization impacts minority
communities. He collaborates with policymakers, civil servants, academics and community organizers in
directly affected communities to create a new vision for the criminal legal system, which can ultimately
shape policies that help individuals, families, and communities thrive.

Since his release from prison, he has become a sought after speaker for colleges, high schools,
Alternative-to-Incarceration sites and Juvenile Detention Facilities. Which has led to him giving a TED
Talk that highlights the factors that led to his incarceration and while also introducing an innovative
approach to collaborative education for community members and public officials. His work is driven
around changing the narrative of the criminal justice system where justice and democracy are applied
equally to all. As a result of his dedication towards transforming systems, Jarrell was selected as an Annie
E. Casey Youth Advisory Council Member and serves as a Youth-Advocate and peer mentor for Friends of the
Island Academy. Jarrell offers disciplined advice for justice-involved youth re-emerging from Rikers
Island and juvenile detention centers throughout NYC, as well as teens struggling to find social balance.