Joseph “Gus” Voss

Managing Attorney, JR Institutions & Reentry Project

I was raised by hippies, punks, and a judge in Boise, Idaho, where I learned to prioritize justice and push back against oppressive systems. Constantly in the office of school administrators or the School Resource Officer, and in and out of juvenile court for what I saw as unfair violations of the Bill of Rights, I fixed my sights on becoming a civil rights attorney. After college, I went to work as a researcher/outreach specialist for the National Institute on Money in State Politics. However, working for an amazing organization that was focused on education rather than advocacy felt limiting and didn’t let me work directly on protecting peoples’ rights, so I moved to Seattle with my partner so I could attend law school.  As a law student, the BlackLivesMatter movement made me open my eyes to the extent to which the entire legal system was created as a way to manifest and maintain systemic, structural, and institutional racism, sexism, and anti-poor oppression. After law school, I worked as a public defender representing folks accused in Federal Way Municipal Court, and then representing parents in dependency/termination proceedings in Snohomish County. I moved to TeamChild so I could work directly with incarcerated youth as part of an organization that has the explicit vision of dismantling systemic racism and abolishing youth incarceration.

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