Gabrielle Prisco, Vanderbilt University

Featured Alumna

Spring 2012

Gabrielle Prisco is the director of the Juvenile Justice Project at the Correctional Association of New York, a network of child advocacy groups, legal service providers and community-based organizations working to make the juvenile justice system in New York more equitable and effective.

In her role, Gabrielle develops and manages reform and advocacy strategies including initiatives that promote youth leadership and the safety of incarcerated LGBTQ youth.

“I feel like my work is inherently about providing a voice for children,” she says. “It’s about saying that the way that we measure who is and is not a deserving child, who is not worthy of education or of participating in society or in professional life is fundamentally flawed. I think that the way that Posse operates explodes those notions, and the work that I do is also an attempt to challenge those notions.”

Gabrielle was raised in New York City in the Randall Manor neighborhood of Staten Island, by parents who were both educators and insisted that she gain an open-minded perspective on social issues, even from a young age. As a member of the fourth Posse to enroll at Vanderbilt University, she graduated in 1998 magna cum laude and went on to earn a master’s in communication studies from the University of Alabama. In 2003, she received a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she also graduated with honors and was awarded several fellowships including the John F. Kennedy Jr. Fellowship in Juvenile Justice. She has worked with the Legal Aid Society and the American Civil Liberties Union where she was a William J. Brennan fellow.

With her expertise in high demand, Gabrielle also participates in numerous city and state youth justice committees and presents and publishes widely on the issue.

Her advice to young Scholars: “You have what you need already,” she says. “Part of what Posse gave me was this belief in my own ability. The overall arc and trajectory of my life has followed a course of increasing self trust. I think that anything I’ve done that has value has been because I’ve been able to tap into that.”