Metro Women's Leadership Summit

Victoria Pratt

Victoria Pratt

Driven. Innovative. Inspiring. These are a few of the words used to describe Judge Victoria Pratt who has gained national and international acclaim for her commitment to reforming the criminal justice system. As the Chief Judge in Newark Municipal Court in Newark, New Jersey, she spent years gaining a deep understanding of how justice could be delivered to court participants in a manner that increased their trust in the legal system and change their behavior. A creative problem-solver, while presiding over Newark Community Solutions, a Community Court Program, she provided alternatives to jail to low-level offenders. These alternatives included community service, individual and group counseling sessions, and her signature assignment of introspective essays. Called a pioneer in procedural justice, her respectful approach, and treating individuals with dignity and respect has had a positive effect on court participants' court experience, and how the community viewed the court. Her TED Talk, "How Judges Can Show Respect," has gone viral. It has been translated into 11 languages and is over a million views.

By passionately articulating her ideas she leaves an indelible effect on the hearts and minds of her audience. She is now serving as a Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey, an institution that has always been committed to social justice. Her teaching load includes Problem Solving Justice and Restorative Justice. As a graduate of Rutgers Law, she is excited to be influencing the minds of future lawyers and judges with innovative and humane ways of dealing with court participants. She also continues to champion criminal justice reform through her consulting firm Pratt Lucien Consultants, LLC, by sharing her skills and approach with others.

A fierce advocate committed to reform, Pratt has done trainings throughout the nation and in five countries. She recently returned from Ukraine where she did workshops and presentations on alternative sentencing for juveniles and procedural justice, and also spent some days working with inmates in California's super maximum security prison, Pelican Bay.

Pratt's work has been featured in The Guardian newspaper, "The Simple Idea that Could Transform U.S. Criminal Justice," and Rutgers Magazine, "Asking for a Little Respect," both written by Pulitzer prize winning author Tina Rosenberg. As a nationally-recognized expert in procedural justice and alternative sentencing, she has been asked by numerous professional organizations and jurisdictions to share her story and philosophy. Judge Pratt has also appeared on MSNBC's "The Melissa Harris Perry Show," the Emmy-award winning PBS show "Due Process- Community Court: A Kinder, Gentler Way?," and National Public Radio's WBGO: "Conversations with Allan Wolper."

Pratt is licensed to practice law in both New Jersey and New York, and is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. She also facilitates Mountain Movers empowerment sessions through to help people live their best lives.