Jeree Thomas, Policy Director for the Campaign For Youth Justice
Jeree Thomas, policy director for the Campaign for Youth Justice, began her career as a Skadden Fellow for the Legal Aid Justice Center’s JustChildren Program where she represented children who were incarcerated but needed help with educational or reentry issues. Later she went on to become a Youth Justice Leadership Institute Fellow through National Juvenile Justice Network.
Early Life and Education
Jeree Thomas believes children deserve every chance at success in life and that early childhood education is essential. That’s why she has dedicated her career to advocating for kids as the policy director of Campaign for Youth Justice; working alongside state advocates to alter laws which push youth into adult criminal justice systems.
UNESCO has found that birth to eight years is a period of extraordinary brain development, making quality early childhood care and education one of the most strategic investments a country can make towards better health, greater success in learning, and increased economic productivity.
Thomas was introduced to child advocacy during her undergraduate days at William and Mary through a service-learning class that introduced her to this cause; from that day forward she knew it would become her calling.
Jeree Thomas began her career as a child advocate after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Social Justice & Community Advocacy and religious studies from The College of William and Mary. Subsequently, she enrolled at University of Virginia School of Law to obtain her juris doctorate.
As an attorney, she worked for Legal Aid Justice Center’s JustChildren Program representing young people experiencing educational and reentry challenges while in prison – providing them with assistance to receive adequate support during incarceration.
Thomas currently serves as policy director of the Campaign for Youth Justice, which fights for children to be removed from adult courts and jails. She co-chairs of Young Lawyers Conference Commission on Women & Minorities in Legal Profession as well as serving as chair of Madison House (a non-profit that coordinates over 3,000 UVA student volunteers).
Achievement and Honors
Jeree Harris Thomas ’08 is an advocate for children’s rights, so much so that she custom designed her undergraduate major at William & Mary to further this cause.
She currently serves as Policy Director and Campaign Manager of RISE (Re-invest in Supportive Environments) for Youth, an initiative advocating alternatives to youth incarceration in Virginia. Prior to that role, she represented juvenile delinquents in adult courtrooms and prisons through Legal Aid Justice Center’s JustChildren program.
National Juvenile Justice Network honored her work in 2016 by awarding her with its inaugural Youth Justice Emerging Leader Award, shining a light on “gutsy” advocates striving to keep young people out of adult courts and jails.
Thomas soon realized that volunteering was the key to becoming part of her new community. She started by serving on Madison House’s Board before volunteering for Cavalier Caring Days and Holiday Sharing events.
Her passion for children’s rights led her to work at Legal Aid Justice Center’s JustChildren program in Richmond as an attorney, serving as national fellow of their Youth Justice Leadership Institute before receiving their inaugural Youth Justice Emerging Leader award.
She currently serves as Policy Director at the Campaign for Youth Justice in Washington, D.C. Her work centers around keeping children out of adult courts, jails and prisons; working alongside state advocates to change laws that prosecute youth as adults; and leading national efforts to close juvenile prisons.
Thomas as a Supreme Court Justice earns a base annual salary of $220,000, in addition to teaching and book deals that provide additional income sources. Justices may earn up to $30,000 through outside activities; Thomas has taught at George Washington University School of Law, University of Georgia School of Law and Universities of Kansas and Notre Dame while receiving large book advances for his memoir which became a New York Times bestseller.
Ginni Thomas founded Liberty Central, a conservative activist group, in 2009. According to her amended income disclosure statement for 2018, she receives $100,000 rent from Ginger Ltd, in partnership.
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