NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A Loyola University professor has been named a 2023 MacArthur Fellow and recipient of a “genius grant” for her work on incarcerated transparency.

The announcement was made on Wednesday, Oct. 4 by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which was designed to provide support for people, institutions and networks working toward a more peaceful world while taking on social challenges.

Professor of Law Andrea Armstrong is also known nationally as an expert on prison and jail conditions.

“One of the most meaningful parts of this award is the recognition of my work by my colleagues
in academia, the legal field and the community here in Louisiana,” said Armstrong, the Dr.
Norman C. Francis professor of law who has been at Loyola since 2010.

The fellowship is said to be a prestigious award given to “talented individuals in a variety of fields who have shown exceptional originality in and dedication to their creative pursuits.”

“I am grateful to do this research with so many talented people, including people who are and/or were incarcerated and my law students.”

Armstrong’s “Incarcerated Transparency” project is a website built by law professor Judson Mitchell and other Loyola law students, containing data listed by institutions highlighting the concentration of deaths in prisons and jails.

Also, the project reveals the prevalence of deaths of people who are detained pretrial and those not convicted of a crime.

Part of the research is gathered through public record requests and memorials of individuals who have died in the New Orleans jail.

“I love that this award specifically recognizes creativity,” Armstrong said. “It will help me continue
creating tools for public understanding and engagement with incarceration, particularly those
integrating cutting-edge research with student learning.”

The genius grants are $800,000 stipends distributed over five years and are to be used how they wish.

The foundation recognizes Armstrong as a “fearless champion of prison reform and a defender of rights and dignity for incarcerated people across the state and the country.”

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