Amanda Alexander is an Assistant Professor and Postdoctoral Scholar in Afro-American Studies and Law at the University of Michigan, and a member of the Michigan Society of Fellows. As a lawyer, legal scholar, and advocate, she works to reduce the impact of mass incarceration on families and build thriving communities. During her 2013-2015 tenure as a Soros Justice Fellow, Alexander founded the Prison & Family Justice Project (PFJP) at Michigan Law, which serves families divided by incarceration and the foster care system using a combination of direct representation, know-your-rights education, targeted litigation, and advocacy. PFJP recently partnered on Who Pays?, a groundbreaking national study on the cost of incarceration on families.
Alexander serves on the steering committee of Law for Black Lives, a national network of lawyers committed to building the power of the Black Lives Matter movement. She teaches courses on movement lawyering and community organizing, and has trained law students and lawyers across the country on techniques for community-based lawyering. Alexander regularly provides assistance and training to community organizations, advocates, and government agencies working to promote successful re-entry, alternatives to incarceration, and economic equity. She serves on the board of the Prison Policy Initiative and as an advisor to the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated. Alexander also co-facilitates the Inside-Out Theory Group at Macomb Prison outside Detroit, and is taking strides to broaden access to higher education in Michigan prisons.
Alexander received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. Previously she has worked with the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, the Bronx Defenders, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, and the Centre for Civil Society in Durban, South Africa. She worked on alternatives to stop-and-frisk policing as an Ella Baker Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Her writing has been published in the Globe & Mail, Mail & Guardian, Michigan Journal of Race & Law, Journal of Asian & African Studies, Review of African Political Economy, and more. She earned her B.A., magna cum laude, from Harvard College.