Joanna Visser Adjoian is co-founder and Co-Director of the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project. At YSRP, she leads the reentry team for youth and Juvenile Lifers, does policy advocacy work, and works with her Co-Director and Director of Operations on fundraising, communications and other aspects of the organization’s operations.
Prior to co-founding YSRP, Ms. Adjoian served as Associate Director and Staff Attorney of the Toll Public Interest Center at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she oversaw the Center’s 26 student pro bono projects, offered guidance to more than 100 student leaders, and directly supervised students in new and existing pro bono initiatives. Before joining the Toll Center, she clerked for Judge Joel Schneider in the United States District Court of the District of New Jersey, and completed a Penn Law Postgraduate Fellowship at Juvenile Law Center, where she advanced efforts to end the practice of sentencing children to life in prison without parole, including co-authoring an Amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case of Miller v. Alabama.
Ms. Adjoian is a member of the Board of Directors of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and the Toll Public Interest Center Advisory Board at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She serves as co-chair of the Legal Rights of Children Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Public Interest Section, and is a member of The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia. Before law school, she worked as a paralegal in the Family Law Unit of Philadelphia Legal Assistance and taught English in Ecuador.
Ms. Adjoian received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.