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For Jodi Shorr Working with OIP Means Making a Difference

Jodi Shorr is the one staff member of the Ohio Innocence Project who is not an attorney, although she does have a criminal justice background.  Originally from New Jersey, Shorr attended Indiana University, where she majored in Applied Health Science and minored in sociology, psychology, and public health.  She then returned to New Jersey for two years, where she worked for Prentice Hall, an education publisher, before moving to Washington, D.C., for five years to work as a production assistant for a pharmaceutical consulting company.  Shorr then decided to go back to school. She is currently working toward finishing her master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice, with a specialization in wrongful conviction, at Northern Arizona University (NAU).

Shorr returned to graduate school because she was interested in the intersection of mental health and criminology.  She learned about innocence projects from the person who would become her advisor at NAU. During her course of study there she worked as both a student volunteer and the graduate student in charge of running the Arizona Innocence Project.  That same advisor was originally from Cincinnati and was able to get Shorr an internship with the Ohio Innocence Project a few years ago.  “The person who had this job before me actually contacted me to let me know it was going to be available,” Shorr stated. “So I left Arizona for Cincinnati.  I wanted to jump at this opportunity because my current position is one of very few in the innocence community for which you do not need a law degree.  Plus, from my internship here I knew I already liked the staff and the environment.” 

As the administrative coordinator and policy analyst, Shorr serves as a link between all of the attorneys.  “They all have so many cases,” she explained. “They can’t always know what’s going on in the other attorneys’ cases as well.  I can usually help by pointing out ways in which issues in their cases overlap, so they can work together on those issues.”  Shorr also focuses heavily on policy work; she is frequently in contact with legislators and other politicians. She also handles many of the every-day decisions of OIP and takes care of managing the office.  She is working closely with OIP Director Mark Godsey to plan the upcoming 2011 Innocence Network Conference.

Shorr stated that she loves her job.  “I love knowing I am making a difference in people’s lives,” she concluded.  “I especially love the contact I get to have with clients, because I can relate to them on a different level than their attorneys.  I also work closely with exonerees to help them readjust to being in society, and that experience is particularly rewarding.”  Shorr admits that there are many difficult days, but that she would never leave.  “Knowing that the problem exists and not working to fix it is against everything I stand for,” she said.

Written by: Lindsay Mather ‘11