2022 Tillman Scholar

Bill Rielly

Syracuse University
Juris Doctor

“Justice in our country requires both accountability and redemption. We need to stop defining people by their mistakes and start focusing on their potential.”

Bill Rielly is an Army veteran and West Point graduate. His career has ranged from leading artillery units in Germany to executive roles at Microsoft and Apple. While working at Apple, Bill started volunteering in California state prisons and found the incarcerated men he worked with wanted to be accountable for their actions and create a positive future. He discovered immense untapped potential among the incarcerated men and was inspired to leave his job at Apple and focus full time on reform efforts in the criminal legal and parole system.

Bill is enrolled at Syracuse University College of Law (J.D. candidate, class of 2024) and intends to change the parole and probation laws across the country to create pathways of redemption for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people so they can leverage their talents, achieve their full potential, and positively impact their communities.

He intends to lead this innovation and create a better system through legal advocacy, changing the public’s perception of the issues, and enlisting advocates inside and outside the current system. The outcomes Bill foresees are better, safer communities; more highly qualified employees; and a criminal legal system of accountability and redemption.