Social Worker and Community Activist
Recipient of President’s Medal of Distinction – Afternoon Ceremony
As a powerful and important member of our Connecticut community and a proud graduate of Southern Connecticut State University’s MSW program, Barbara Fair has fought for the rights of incarcerated people for over 50 years.
In her role as a social worker and in her advocacy work related to solitary confinement, Fair understands the damage that is done to the human mind when people are forced to live in a small, closed space with no social interaction, for extended periods of time. Her tireless work in this arena has made a tremendous contribution to the mental and physical health of the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our community.
Fair led the fight to close Northern Correctional Institution, Connecticut’s super-max correctional facility in Somers, Conn., where all incarcerated people were living in solitary conditions. As lead organizer for Stop Solitary CT, she steered lobbying and advocacy efforts to pass The PROTECT Act. Signed into law in 2022, this bill requires oversight and transparency about how solitary confinement is utilized in our state prisons.
Fair’s long-term commitment to showing up for incarcerated people has allowed her to build strong and trusted relationships with elected officials, Connecticut Department of Corrections administrators, the press, and the general public.
Fair truly embodies Southern’s social justice mission. She has advocated tirelessly to protect the mental health and humanity of our state’s most vulnerable citizens, and her work has impacted the lives of countless people.