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Jordan Michael Smith, 2023 Winner

Jordan Michael Smith writes about the failures of the criminal justice system and mass incarceration. For much of his writing career, Smith has focused on the ways in which America’s economic systems and racial history inform its approach to criminal justice.  In the past year, his piece about the alleged cover-up of a murder of an inmate in a New Jersey prison perpetrated by guards appeared in the New Jersey Monitor, and his reporting for a forthcoming story in the Chronicle of Higher Education has uncovered evidence that university medical departments operating with and for prisons in six states are being run in the same brutal fashion as other private entities that deliver poor health care to prisoners.  Smith is also working on a book about the failures of governments and universities to address the explosion of scientific fraud in universities and colleges. 

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Smith’s work has been supported by Type Investigations, the Fund for Investigative Journalism, and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. Smith is currently a contributing editor at The New Republic. His reportage and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and many other publications. He lives in Toronto, Canada. 

 “If my writing can help people understand that the United States has among the highest crime rates in the developed world even while it locks up more people than anywhere else, then I can feel proud of the reporting I have done,” Smith says. “The Margolis Award is unique in supporting social justice journalism, and I am honored to be recognized for trying to carry on the type of work that Richard Margolis did so well.” 

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