Philip Fornaci

Project Director, DC Prisoners’ Project

Philip Fornaci led the DC Prisoners’ Project since it became a part of the Committee in 2006. He left the Project in 2013, but returned as Project Director in April 2017. He directs the Project’s ongoing litigation on behalf of DC prisoners and formerly incarcerated people on issues related to their conditions of confinement and related matters. He has advocated for improved medical care for DC prisoners, limits on population at the DC Jail, expanded rights for parole-eligible prisoners, and on a wide range of other matters affecting prisoners in DC jail facilities and in the federal Bureau of Prisons, as well as matters affecting parolees.

In addition, Mr. Fornaci manages the Project’s extensive public policy advocacy efforts, which have included successful legislative efforts to reverse parole rules that unfairly punished DC parolees and provide parolees the opportunity to terminate their parole. Mr. Fornaci has frequently testified before the US Congress and the DC Council on jail and prison conditions, on the rights of prisoners and parolees, and on the challenges facing DC prisoners held in the federal prison system.

From 2013 to 2016, Mr. Fornaci was a legal investigator for Dinolt Becnel & Wells, a private investigative firm now based in D.C. In 2016, he took over the DC Employment Justice Center (EJC) as Executive Director. In April 2017, he led efforts to merge the EJC into the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, where the EJC’s  legal and advocacy work is now based. From 2003-2006, Mr. Fornaci was Executive Director of the DC Prisoners’ Legal Services Project, Inc. (DCPLSP), a prisoners’ rights advocacy organization formed in 1989 to address widespread Constitutional violations at DC jail facilities and the Lorton Prison Complex. In 2006, the DCPLSP and the Committee agreed to merge, creating the DC Prisoners’ Project of the Committee and retaining the mission of the original DCPLSP.

Education

  • JD, cum laude, George Washington University Law School
  • BA, Columbia University

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia

Professional/Community Activities

  • National Lawyers’ Guild
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