Staff & Volunteers

The Prison Policy Initiative's accomplishments are those of a much larger organization. Thanks to your support, we've added staff and our capacity to help make social change is growing quickly. Learn more about our current and past staff.


picture of Peter Wagner Peter Wagner, JD, Executive Director. Peter Wagner teaches, lectures, and writes about the negative impact of mass incarceration in the United States. His current focus is on demonstrating — through graphics, legal research, and state-by-state analyses — how the U.S. Census Bureau's practice of counting the nation's mostly urban prisoners as residents of the often remote communities in which they are incarcerated distorts the democratic process. The New York Times editorial board has written 21 editorials supporting his efforts to change the way prisoners are counted, and the Boston Globe identified him as the "leading public critic" of the prisoner miscount. He has presented his research at national and international conferences and meetings, including a Census Bureau Symposium, a meeting of the National Academies, and keynote addresses at Harvard and Brown Universities and the Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron Missouri. Mr. Wagner's publications include Importing Constituents: Prisoners and Political Clout in New York (2002); The Prison Index: Taking the Pulse of the Crime Control Industry (2003); and Breaking the Census: Redistricting in an Era of Mass Incarceration (2012).

picture of Aleks KajsturaAleks Kajstura, JD, Legal Director. Aleks has worked with the Prison Policy Initiative in various capacities since 2003, and has been our legal director since 2009. A 2008 graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Aleks played a central role in building the Prison Policy Initiative's campaign against prison gerrymandering and building the organization's second major issue, sentencing enhancement zones. Her publications include Prison Gerrymandering in Massachusetts: How the Census Bureau prison miscount invites phantom constituents to town meeting, The Geography of Punishment: How Huge Sentencing Enhancement Zones Harm Communities, Fail to Protect Children, and Reaching too far: How Connecticut's large sentencing enhancement zones miss the mark. In her spare time, Aleks coaches for Pioneer Valley Roller Derby and serves as the Chair of the Finance Committee for the Town of Sunderland.

picture of Leah Sakala Leah Sakala, Senior Policy Analyst, has been working with the Prison Policy Initiative since 2008. She is currently on staff part-time while she is in the Master of Public Policy Program at the Brandeis University Heller School.

She is the author of Return to Sender: Postcard-only Mail Policies in Jail, which the National Institute of Corrections called "required reading for policy makers and anyone working with individuals in jail custody," and also Breaking Down Mass Incarceration in the 2010 Census: State-by-State Incarceration Rates by Race/Ethnicity. She also co-authored Reaching too far, coming up short: How large sentencing enhancement zones miss the mark, Please Deposit All of Your Money: Kickbacks, Rates, and Hidden Fees in the Jail Phone Industry, Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie, and States of Incarceration: The Global Context. She graduated magna cum laude from Smith College.

Students, interns and volunteers

Sarah Hertel-Fernandezpicture of Sarah Hertel-Fernandez is a junior at Smith College. She helped out as a intern in the Spring Semester of 2014, and this summer began part-time work as a Research Associate.

Sophia Robohn is a Hampshire College student who is completing a RRASC Internship with the Prison Policy Initiative.

Natalie Alexanderpicture of Natalie Alexander is a student at Hampshire College writing a thesis on state enforcement of hierarchies of misogyny in men's prisons. This summer she is working on PPI's video presence, building video clips about different parts of PPI's work.

Corey FrostCorey Frost is a law student at the University of North Carolina School of Law. He is conducting pro bono research on correctional standards in order to support the Prison Policy Initiative's work fighting to end letter bans in local jails.

Coming soon

Bernadette Rabuy Bernadette Rabuy will be joining the Prison Policy Initiative on August 1st as a Policy & Communications Associate. A graduate of University of California, Berkeley, and has previously worked with National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Voice of the Ex-Offender, and Californians United for a Responsible Budget.

picture of Yoo Eun KimYoo Eun Kim is a junior at Smith College. She helped out as a work-study Research Associate in the Spring Semester of 2014, and we expect her to return in the fall. Among other responsibilities, she is responsible for our legislator outreach list.


Bill Cooper helps us access and analyze geographic and demographic data.

Bob Machuga designed our new site and has developed our new branding in addition to making videos and maps about prison-based gerrymandering for us.

Jordan Miner develops the code behind some of our interactive features and internal tools. He made our map of sentencing enhancement zones in Hampden County Massachusetts interactive, upgraded our Prisoners of the Census FAQ, and created a lot of clever little features that help various parts of our websites talk to each other. Jordan lives in Illinois.