Named a “New Civil Rights Leader” by Essence Magazine for her work to challenge mass incarceration, Nicole D. Porter manages The Sentencing Project’s state and local advocacy efforts on sentencing reform, voting rights, and confronting racial disparities in the criminal legal system.
Since joining The Sentencing Project in 2009, Porter’s advocacy and findings have supported criminal legal reforms in several states including Kentucky, Maryland Missouri, California, Texas and the District of Columbia. Porter’s areas of expertise include research and grassroots support around challenging racial disparities, felony disenfranchisement, in addition to prison closures and prison reuse. Her research has been cited in several major media outlets including Salon and the Washington Post, and she has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and on National Public Radio and MSNBC. Porter has also been invited to speak on state sentencing policy, collateral consequences, and racial disparity to various audiences including the League of Women Voters, NAACP, and the United Methodist Women’s Assembly and on Capitol Hill. She has authored reports highlighting ballot access for people detained in jails, state prison closures and declining prison populations, in addition to articles on the collateral impacts of justice involvement on communities of color and how current social movements are challenging mass incarceration. Porter is the former director of the Texas ACLU’s Prison & Jail Accountability Project (PJAP) where she advocated in the Texas legislature to promote felony enfranchisement reforms, eliminate prison rape, and improve prison medical care. Porter received her undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. Her master’s thesis addressed exploring self employment among formerly incarcerated African Americans. She also studied African politics at the University of Ghana, West Africa.