Adam J. Foss is a former Assistant District Attorney in the Juvenile Division of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office (SCDAO) in Boston, MA, and a fierce advocate for criminal justice reform, with a particular emphasis on redefining the role of the prosecutor to help end mass incarceration. To further these ends, Mr. Foss founded Prosecutor Impact, a non-profit that develops training and curriculum for prosecutors to reframe their role in the criminal justice system, and he maintains an active speaking and lecture schedule.
During his nine years as a prosecutor, Mr. Foss collaborated with the courts and the community to develop programs that continue to have a positive impact on distressed neighborhoods in the Boston area. He co-founded the Roxbury CHOICE program, for example, to turn probation from a punitive sentence into a beneficial relationship with the court, the probation department, and the District Attorney’s Office. He also founded the SCDAO Reading Program to bridge the achievement gap of area elementary school students. Before leaving the District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Foss helped pioneer the first juvenile diversion program in Suffolk County, keeping young people out of the cradle-to-prison pipeline.
The Mandela Foundation recently recognized Mr. Foss as the 2017 Nelson Mandela Changemaker of the Year. Fast Company named him one of the Most Creative People in Business of 2017. The Root named Mr. Foss one of the 100 most influential black Americans of 2016. He was named “Graduate of the Last Decade“ by his alma mater, Suffolk University Law School, and is a visiting senior fellow at Harvard Law School. He also is a fellow at the Open Society Foundation Leadership in Government initiative as well as a Director’s Fellow in the world-renowned MIT Media Lab. In February of 2016, Mr. Foss delivered a TED talk that has already surpassed two million views. In 2015, he was voted one of the country’s 40 most up-and-coming lawyers by National Law Journal, and in 2013, the Massachusetts Bar Association voted him Prosecutor of the Year.