José Santos Woss

Legislative Manager, Criminal Justice and Election Integrity


Jose Santos Woss

José is the Legislative Manager for Criminal Justice and Election Integrity. He leads FCNL’s work on criminal justice reform, election integrity, and policing. He helps to lead the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition, an alliance of more than 40 national faith groups advocating to end mass incarceration.

Prior to joining FCNL, José was the Policy Fellow for the American Friends Service Committee bringing Quaker values to a busy policy portfolio consisting of criminal justice reform, human rights, and peacebuilding research. His passion for racial justice led him to help lead a coalition advocating for the human rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent facing statelessness. Before joining the Quaker community he lobbied on public health and appropriations for a large, international law firm. José started his career in public policy working in the United States Senate. While working for Senator Robert Menendez Jose built a robust understanding of public policy, legislative process, and effectively communicating policy/politics to constituents.

Before his time in the Senate, Jose was a social worker for HIV-positive clients in New York City. While attending Montclair State University and right after graduating he served as an AmeriCorps member in a community-based, immigrant-serving nonprofit helping recently-arrived African refugees in New Jersey. He also provided French interpretation and translation services for Survivors of Torture counseling and USCIS asylum interviews. José’s national service and time as a social worker illustrated the ways society and institutions are built to leave so many people behind.

Jose is a proud son of immigrants who’s passionate about political process, public service, and social justice. Jose is fluent in three languages. He attained the degree of Master of Public Administration from American University and is a graduate of Montclair State University. Jose is a member of Friends Meeting of Washington.

jose@fcnl.org

Articles by José Santos Woss

Update Sick and Tired of Tragedies at the Hands of Police 

Jacob Blake. Another name in the long list of Black men and women shot by police. This time a father, security guard, and a sibling. He was shot multiple times while his children watched from the car. Just imagine being a small child and witnessing your father being gunned down by police. Thankfully, they did not take his life.

Background I Am a Black, Latino Quaker 

George Floyd should be alive today. As should Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, and the hundreds of other Black women and men who recently died due to police brutality and racism.

Action Alert Now is the Time to Demilitarize Policing! 

Weeks have passed since the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police. In response, thousands of people have taken to the streets. Our changed consciousness has created an important movement, one in which we’re called to act.

Action Alert Tell Congress: Support Justice in Policing 

America needs police reform now! In partnership with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we are calling on Congress to swiftly pass meaningful police reform legislation.

Action Alert DC Deserves Representation: Urge Your Representative to Support Statehood! 

I’m proud to be one of the more than 700,000 people who live in the District of Columbia. For too long we have been denied a voice and a vote in Congress. That must change.

Legislative Ask America Needs Police Reform 

We call on Congress to swiftly pass meaningful police reform legislation.

Action Alert Two Viruses threaten the Health of our Democracy 

COVID-19 isn’t just a threat to the health and safety of every American—it also threatens the very heart of American democracy. With elections looming, we should not ask people to choose between their right to vote and their health. If Congress takes the right steps now, we won’t have to make that choice.

Background How Can We Restore Integrity to Our Elections? 

Our system of elections and the role of money in politics need serious reforms.

Update Speaking of Education Reform, What Can Congress Learn from Orange is the New Black? 

Recently, I joined Illinois Rep Danny Davis to talk about lifting the Pell Grant ban and giving people more access to education. Congress has introduced a bill - the bipartisan REAL Act (H.R.2168 /S.1074) - which would restore access to Pell Grants. But it is not moving as fast as planned and needs some helpful pressure for final passage.

Update Restoring Access to Education in Prisons 

Updated Oct. 29, 2019

In the 1990’s leaders in Washington, D.C. sought to increase punitive sentences and address crime through harsh punishment. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322) increased prison sentences, created incentives for states to build new prisons, and strengthened laws that made the incarcerated serve more of their sentence before their release. The law also eliminated Pell Grants in prisons.