Leading with Conviction

Year-Long Leadership Training Program

Leading with Conviction (LwC) is an advanced leadership training for formerly incarcerated, mid-senior level leaders with a specific and proven track record in advocacy and community organizing.

LwC is a cohort based, 12-month opportunity for leaders from around the country. LwC takes place both in-person through four in-person forums, and remotely through six webinars, executive coaching, peer coaching, and regular communication.

LwC trainings benefit leaders by introducing them to the people and practices closely linked to successful community and regional criminal justice advocacy efforts, enabling them to take on greater challenges and to generate quantifiable impact in their work.

In order to ensure that leaders are introduced to the skills necessary for decarceration success, JustLeadershipUSA has formed partnerships with Columbia Law School’s Center for Institutional and Social Change & Opportunity Agenda so that participants may benefit from their respective expertise in Community Building, Advocacy and Communication/Messaging.

Eligibility and Admission Criteria

Fellows must have at least 3 years post-criminal justice involvement to ensure they have had the time to resolve normal re-entry issues, secure housing and employment and focus on leadership advocacy in their communities.

Fellows must be directly impacted by the criminal justice system (juvenile and/or criminal justice involvement is required to be eligible and includes but is not limited to: actual incarceration [served time in jail and/or prison], arrest with or without conviction, under community supervision [i.e. parole, sentenced to probation-only],  involvement as a client in the juvenile justice, family directly involved in the system). Individuals on parole and / or probation are eligible for Leading with Conviction.

All Fellows MUST have demonstrated a minimum 3 year track record of leadership with a specific commitment to advocacy and community organizing, not only direct services.



Where do we meet?

All in-person forums take place in New York or in the Midwest for the regional Forums.

How many times do we meet in-person?

There are four in-person Forums.

Can I participate in a forum session remotely (e.g. Skype, video conference, etc.)


What is the difference between the national and regional training?

Essentially no difference. The regional training is JLUSA’s effort to expand its investments in leadership by concentrating in regional areas. Both trainings will receive the same high quality of training, and will have access to a strong network of high caliber leaders.

What are the program dates for the national program?

  • Introductory Webinar – Thursday, November 14, 2019 4-6pm ET
  • Forum 1 – Friday, January 24, 2020 through Sunday, January 26, 2020
  • Webinar 1 – Thursday, February 27, 2020 4-6pm ET
  • Forum 2 – Saturday, March 21, 2020 and Sunday March 22, 2020
  • Webinar 2 – Thursday, April 20, 2020 4-6pm ET
  • Webinar 3 – Thursday, May 14, 2020 4-6pm ET
  • Forum 3 – Saturday, June 13, 2020 and Sunday, June 14, 2020
  • Webinar 4 – Thursday, July 16, 2020 4-6pm ET
  • Webinar 5 – Thursday, August 13, 2020 4-6pm ET
  • Forum 4 – Saturday, September 19, 2020 and Sunday, September 20, 2020

What are the program dates for the regional program?

  • Introductory Webinar – Thursday, February 13, 2020 4-6pm ET
  • Forum 1 – Friday, April 24, 2020 through Sunday, April 26, 2020
  • Webinar 1 – Thursday, May 21, 2020 4-6pm ET
  • Forum 2 – Saturday, June 27, 2020 and Sunday June 28, 2020
  • Webinar 2 – Thursday, July 23, 2020 4-6pm ET
  • Webinar 3 – Thursday, August 20, 2020 4-6pm ET
  • Forum 3 – Saturday, September 26, 2020 and Sunday, September 27, 2020
  • Webinar 4 – Thursday, October 22, 2020 4-6pm ET
  • Webinar 5 – Thursday, November 19, 2020 4-6pm ET
  • Forum 4 – Saturday, December 12, 2020 and Sunday, December 13, 2020

What is the timeline for the national and regional application?


  • Application closes: Sept. 30, 2019 at 11:59AM EST.
  • Second round interviews: October 14ththrough October 18th
  • Final round candidate interviews: October 21stthrough October 25th
  • Notification of 2020 cohort selection: November 8th


  • Application closes: Sept. 30, 2019 at 11:59AM EST.
  • Second round interviews: January 6ththrough January 10th
  • Final round candidate interviews: January 29ththrough January 31st
  • Notification of 2020 cohort selection: February 15th

If I am unable to participate in all the forums and webinars for the regional program, could I make it up in the national training?

No. If you are accepted into the regional program, you cannot participate or make up dates in the regional program.

If I am unable to participate in all the dates for the national, could I make it up in the regional training?

No. If are accepted into the national program, you cannot participate or make updates in the regional program.

What if I live in both Regional or National location? 

Then you must choose which program you will apply for and include the address for that area.

Can I apply to both national and regional trainings?

No. The application will not accept duplicate applications. If residents in the six states apply for the national training, they will be notified that their application will be considered for the regional application.

If I reside in one of the six states (Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, or Wisconsin), can I only apply to the national training?

Individuals who reside in one of the six states will only be considered for the regional training.

How do I apply for the regional training? 

The application for the regional and national trainings is the same. You will be asked if you reside in (Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, or Wisconsin) and your application will then be considered in the pool for the regional training.

Do I have to pay?

No. JLUSA covers and reimburse allowable expenses associated with the training. However, you are required to cover the travel cost to and from each Forum. You will be reimbursed up to a $500 per forum.

Is there a stipend?


Can I work and participate in the Leading with Conviction program?

Yes. Each Forum takes place on the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) with the exception of Forum 1 which begins on Friday. Therefore, you will need to arrive in the city of the forum on Thursday for the first Forum.

Can I apply if I am still on parole, probation, or some form of supervision?


If my parole or probation officer requires a letter in order for me to travel, will JLUSA provide one?

Yes, JLUSA will provide documentation to support travel.

Can I travel with my children or significant other?

We do not recommend traveling with family members. You will have a full schedule for each Forum and only you can attend the trainings except for graduation during the final forum.

What if I am unable to make it to a forum or webinar?

Leading with Conviction (LwC) requires full participation and that includes participating in all of the forums and webinars. Failure to attend can be grounds for termination from the program.

What are the benefits of the program?

Receive high-quality professional leadership development training; connections to successful criminal justice and juvenile justice advocacy efforts; certificate of completion, high-quality job opportunities from around the county; support from JustLeadershipUSA’s leadership training staff; connections to a national network of over 500 directly impacted leaders and access to their resources, knowledge, and connections with key stakeholders.

Once I submit my application and discover that I forgot to include something, can I go back and change it?

Unfortunately, we will not provide an opportunity for any applicant or JLUSA team member to edit an application once it is submitted. Please direct all Leading with Conviction questions to: leadership@jlusa.org