Brian Ferguson (C'18)

Brian Ferguson is a native Washingtonian. While attending West Virginia University, as a 4.0 student and working at a law firm, he was wrongfully accused and convicted of homicide in 2002. Ferguson was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but with the help of exceptional attorneys, his conviction was overturned. He was finally released after an 11-year fight from a maximum-security penitentiary.

Ferguson returned home, determined to make a success of himself and serve as an example to others who have experienced and overcome great hardships in their lives, particularly other returning citizens. Toward this goal, while at Georgetown, he established Startline, a nonprofit online platform designed to be an invaluable resource for those attempting to successfully negotiate reentry into society by allowing them to identify, locate, and rate critical housing, employment, and other social resources.

In 2016, Ferguson was appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser to be the director of the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs. While there and going to school full-time, he worked closely with the Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative to create programs, such as the Paralegal Fellowship Program and helped coordinate Georgetown classes for people in DC Jail for what he calls “unprecedented second-chance educational opportunities.” In December 2018, Ferguson won a prestigious Marshall Scholarship to pursue a master’s of comparative social policy at the University of Oxford. One of only 48 students across the nation to receive the award, Ferguson will study leading international policy trends and approaches to social policy and criminal justice reform, then apply the results to a comprehensive and collaborative effort between governments and leading universities to develop effective policy solutions designed to remove racial and socioeconomic barriers, especially for those involved in the criminal justice system.

Ferguson will be featured on the panel entitled Breaking the Cycle in a Broken System: A Discussion on Mass Incarceration and Prison Reform with Paul Butler, The Albert Brick Professor in Law, Georgetown Law Center, Marc Howard, Director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative, Professor of Government and Law Students of the Prisons and Justice Initiative, and Morris Will O'Kelly (B'91)