2016 Shawn Sukumar Criminal Justice Reform Scholarship

Shawn Sukumar’s work as a Washington DC defense attorney has provided him the opportunity to see the long-term harm that comes to those unfortunate enough to be put through the criminal justice system and try to lead a successful life once out of it.

Often, a person with an arrest record faces unfair preconceived notions as they try to find employment, enroll in higher education and seek financial aid, or even attempt to secure decent housing. These biases remain even when the individual has been declared innocent by a court of law.

Mr. Sukumar has worked tirelessly on behalf of clients to help get their arrest records cleared in order to mitigate the negative biases they will certainly  face in the future.

In 2006, DC passed the Criminal Record Sealing Act; which allowed individuals to have their records sealed or expunged if a person was: arrested, had a case dismissed prior to trial, was proved innocent of a misdemeanor or felony, or even convicted of certain misdemeanors. Thanks to the DC Criminal Record Sealing Act of 2006, less people saddled with an arrest record or trial.

Unfavorable generalizations against those with police records is pervasive throughout the nation, and only a handful of states have policies similar to the DC Criminal Record Sealing Act in place.

It is often reported that as many as one in three people in the United States have a criminal record, which means that 33 percent of the population face unfair treatment, regardless of whether or not they were convicted of a crime. This showcases a desperate need for criminal justice system reform.

Attorney Shawn Sukumar is familiar with the harmful effects of the criminal justice system. As such, we are proud to announce the Shawn Sukumar Criminal Justice Reform Scholarship. The scholarship will award $500 to a student who presents a well-reasoned and practical solution to a problem they see within the criminal justice system.

Eligibility & Selection Criteria:

  • This scholarship is offered to any student currently enrolled in an accredited community college, undergraduate, or graduate program in the United States. This includes incoming first-year college students who are high school graduates or possess a GED.
  • The scholarship candidate must possess an interest in social justice, as demonstrated by past and present volunteer, professional, and educational experiences.
  • All eligible candidates must be in good academic standing, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.

Application Requirements:

  • An updated résumé.
  • A 750-word essay responding to the following prompt:  What issue within the criminal justice system do you believe needs reform? Why? What is a practical solution to this problem? What changes do you believe this solution would make? Feel free to draw on your own or loved one’s experiences.
  • A current unofficial transcript from the applicant’s school (NOTE: First-year college students must submit an unofficial transcript from their most recent school, as well as an unofficial transcript from their current post-secondary institution.)

Application Deadline & Instructions

In order to be eligible, scholarship applicants must submit their FULL application (personal statement, transcript(s), and résumé) by email to scholarships@washingtondccriminallawyer.net. The official deadline for all application materials is May 31, 2017.


Subject Line: Name of the Applicant — Name of the Scholarship

Attachments: Personal Statement, Transcript, and Resume