Finholt joins Wilson Center for Science and Justice
Finholt will lead the Just Sentencing Project, an initiative focusing on extreme sentencing and racial disparities in North Carolina.
Ben Finholt has joined the Wilson Center for Science and Justice, where he will lead the Just Sentencing Project, an initiative he has directed for the past two years at North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services.
With the project’s move to the Wilson Center, Finholt will address extreme sentencing and racial disparities in North Carolina through policy, the courts, and executive clemency, with the goal of developing a model that can be exported nationally. He will work with Wilson Center researchers and the Governor’s Task Force on Racial Equity in Criminal Justice to compile a comprehensive database of North Carolina felony charging, conviction, and sentencing. He also will partner with district attorney’s offices, public defender’s offices, the state General Assembly, the Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission, and the Juvenile Sentencing Review Board to promote fair and equitable sentencing and best practices related to sentencing review.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join the Wilson Center for Science and Justice and the Duke Law faculty to continue the Just Sentencing Project,” Finholt said.
“I am forever grateful to my former colleagues at North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, who made it possible for me to pursue this work.”
Wilson Center Executive Director Yvette Garcia Missri said she is excited to welcome Finholt to Duke Law.
“Ben’s holistic approach to addressing excessive sentencing through policy, education, and the courts, is a perfect fit for the Wilson Center and we are so fortunate he's joined us,” she said. “Ben’s work and expertise will greatly expand the Center’s reach and impact and provide many opportunities for students to do meaningful work and make a real difference in our local community.”
Finholt is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Iowa College of Law. He taught math in New England for six years before attending law school, after which he worked in education law before joining NC Prisoner Legal Services as a staff attorney in 2012 and becoming director of the Just Sentencing Project in July 2019.