Nick Turner

Criminal justice reformer
Nick Turner is the president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice, one of the biggest and most established justice reform organizations in the US.

Why you should listen

Nick Turner is the first person of color (Filipino/African American) to lead the Vera Institute of Justice. He is a product of elite academic institutions (Sidwell Friends School, Yale College and Law School), but the thing that has always made him get up in the morning is a desire to fix what he saw as a social worker in his hometown of Washington, DC, in the early 1990s: the poverty, the failed systems, the throw-away attitude of our society toward people of color and the poor. He is motivated by righting wrongs and fighting for the fairness, justice and opportunity that is promised in this country.

Turner's background is one that includes a belief in America's promise, yet he knows that is more exceptional and he sees bias, injustice and dehumanization play out in the areas he works in. Recent years have brought a spotlight to the issues he cares about, and he is committed to work that sees the American people truly understand the cruelty of the country's approach to crime and justice -- and to reverse it.

Nick Turner’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Nick Turner


Free to Dream: TED Talks in partnership with American Family Insurance

November 22, 2021

We all deserve the right to dream and to pursue better, richer and fuller lives. In fact, this ideal is often referred to as the American Dream. And yet, the country’s criminal justice system denies many people the freedom to truly dream — even after they have been technically “freed” from incarceration. In an evening […]

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