News Release

American Singer-Songwriter and Activist John Flynn Presented with Champion of Justice Humanitarian Award by Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (August 7, 2019) – John Flynn, singer-songwriter, social justice activist, and Executive Director of New Beginnings-Next Step, Inc., received the NACDL Champion of Justice Humanitarian Award at the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice’s (NFCJ) Gala in Philadelphia, PA, on August 2.

“Over the years, John’s work as a social justice advocate has garnered almost as much attention as his music,” said NFCJ Vice President and NACDL Past President Theodore Simon. “It is really his humanity and dedication to working with offenders and his longstanding work with New Beginnings-Next Step and reentry that we honor him with the Champion of Justice Humanitarian Award.”

In addition to his music career, Flynn has dedicated much of his work to social justice. In 2017, Flynn founded New Beginnings-Next Step, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to helping lead incarcerated and returning citizens in a successful transition to freedom.

Flynn is an ardent opponent of the death penalty, and has organized and performed in MERCy Concerts (Musicians Encouraging the Repeal of Capital punishment) in his home state of Delaware in addition to volunteering as lead inmate support group facilitator at Delware’s maximum-security penitentiary, The Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, since 2005. Recognizing the need for more of this work, in 2013 Flynn began running additional groups for those released.

See a complete list of past winners of the Champion of Justice Humanitarian Award.

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Madeline Sklar, NACDL Public Affairs and Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7647 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.