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Carole Willis Criminal Justice Reform Scholarship

Funded by
user profile avatar
Charles Willis
1 winner$2,270
Application Deadline
May 1, 2024
Winners Announced
Jun 1, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Undergraduate student
Underrepresented minority
Criminal justice or law

Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) would like to honor and remember one of our dear members Carole Willis, who recently passed away at the age of 79. A lifelong New Yorker, Carole was a wonderful, caring, and giving person who had a beautiful heart and soul. Carole was actively involved with CAIC and the Correctional Association of NY for the last several years, and her son Nicholas Zimmerman spent over a decade in solitary confinement.

Carole was a fierce advocate and committed campaign member. She participated in numerous meetings with legislators, multiple advocacy days in Albany, and various community events, including speaking on behalf of CAIC. Carole’s wholehearted dedication was truly inspiring. From making visits to such far away prisons as Attica and Clinton, often trekking from her home in Queens to Harlem and elsewhere for campaign meetings, to waking up before dawn to catch the buses going to Albany, Carole was amazing in her commitment and her strength. Even this year, Carole woke up at three in the morning in order to be on the buses to come up for our advocacy day for the HALT Solitary Confinement Act.

Apart from her efforts with CAIC and the CA, Carole was a missionary, family matriarch, a decades-long member of multiple helping professions, a lifelong learner, and much more. We are deeply grateful for having known Carole and for all of her efforts in support of the #HALTsolitary campaign. We will deeply miss her and her beautiful spirit, and we are sending much love to her family.

Any undergraduate student who is an underrepresented minority studying criminal justice or law in order to make a difference in the criminal justice system may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us how you’re working to address an important social issue and how you plan to make an impact in criminal justice.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Impact
Published December 6, 2023
Essay Topic

How are you working to address an important social issue? How do you plan to make a difference in the criminal justice system?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Taylor Morancy
Florida International UniversityHollywood, FL
Policy Advocacy has always been a pivotal part of my life. Growing up, I had to learn that the world wasn’t always black and white. Learning about Trayvon Martin is not ideal for the average 7-8-year-old who had an epiphany for sports and video games. In addition, my own experience within the law is quite desolate as I had to witness relatives deal with the legal system. I have both family members who are on opposite sides of the legal system. There are former felons and police officers within my family. It was saddening on Thanksgiving, memorial days, or even on Christmas and my younger cousins asked me where a particular relative was. It was rather depressing, but I always wanted to remain in good spirits. My experiences cultivated and fostered my affinity for the law and the legal system. I believe that the justice system is somewhat flawed but there needs to be a balance between fair justice and justice reform. I am currently in college majoring in both public policy and political science on a pre-law track. In my public policy classes, we have held policy advocacy trainings where I have advocated for ways to reduce recidivism in all youth but with an emphasis on minority youth since their rates were much higher compared to other youth in Broward and Miami Dade Counties. There are several factors as to why these juveniles/youth commit crimes such as no stable home, poor finances, or substance abuse. The Juvenile Predisposition Services (JPS) is an organization that focuses on preventing recidivism and acclimating youth back into society. As for my major in political science, I took upon this major to find ways to effectively communicate my ideas in oral and written form. I believe communication is one of the main ways for me to impact these issues that I am passionate about. This major will help me as I utilize it to be an effective law student and lawyer in the future. Fortunately, I was an overachiever in high school, and I was able to take AP/AICE/Dual Enrollment/Honors and every rigorous course I could find to transfer 50 college credits to Florida International University as a first time in college student. This left a lot of space on my college schedule which allowed me to take several other classes and programs. This helps me in creating passionate laws because I am no stranger to adversity as I love to challenge myself. I hope that with this time that I have, I can learn from the various mentors that I met along the way to properly impact advocacy so I can speak for the speechless. Criminal attorneys whether they are prosecutors or defense attorneys only have an impact on the individual of their case. I want to work as a lawyer but utilize my law degree as leverage as a method of going into politics. I do not care where I end up: city government, state government, or federal government. For me there is no preference if I can make a difference. Ultimately, I believe that the sky is the limit for how I want to achieve my goals, but the focus is to help others who cannot help themselves or do not know where to look for help. Therefore, I want to learn from my mentors and utilize my potential scholarship funds so I can focus purely on connections and school, and not on how I will pay for my college expenses. I believe that my ambition combined with my core values will allow me to go on and become auspicious.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 1, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jun 1, 2024.

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