A portrait of Peter Wagner.
Peter Wagner
Executive Director
I need your help. The Prison Policy Initiative is at the forefront of the movement for criminal justice reform. We’ve protected our democracy from the prison system and the poorest families in this country from the predatory prison telephone industry. And our timely and accessible reports recruit new and stronger allies to our movement.

But
our long-term viability depends on people like you investing in our work.

Some of our other supporters will match every gift made through the end of the year. Can you stand up for smart and effective criminal justice policy with a gift today?

I thank you for investing in our work towards a more just tomorrow.
—Peter Wagner
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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.

Staff

picture of Peter Wagner Peter Wagner is an attorney and the Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative. He co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative in 2001 in order to spark a national discussion about the negative side effects of mass incarceration. His report, Importing Constituents: Prisoners and Political Clout in New York, launched the national movement to end “prison gerrymandering” more than a decade ago. His research and advocacy caught the attention of the press — including 21 New York Times editorials — and led four states and more than 200 local governments to end prison gerrymandering.

Under his leadership, the Prison Policy Initiative has helped propel other parts of the criminal justice reform movement forward by achieving critical victories in regulating the exploitative prison and jail telephone industry and quantifying the counter-productive effects of geography-based punishments.

Some of his most recent work has brought the need for criminal justice and electoral reform to new audiences, including reports exposing the entire mass incarceration pie, helping Hank Green explain the failed mass incarceration experiment in a VlogBrothers video, working with Josh Begley to put each state’s overuse of incarceration into the international context, and putting the problem of prison gerrymandering onto theatre screens nationwide.

In recognition of the victories he led on this and other issues, he is the recipient of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award (2013) and the American Constitution Society’s David Carliner Public Interest Award (2014).


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, including her publication, Prison Gerrymandering in Massachusetts: How the Census Bureau prison miscount invites phantom constituents to town meeting. Aleks has also led the organization's work on its second major issue, sentencing enhancement zones, authoring 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.

Aleks continues to shed light on other hidden aspects of mass incarceration, for example sparking a New York Times editorial by highlighting mass incarceration's impact on women in States of Women's Incarceration: The Global Context.

In her spare time, Aleks plays hockey, competes in triathlons, and serves on the Finance Committee for the Town of Sunderland.


Bernadette Rabuy Bernadette Rabuy is the Senior Policy Analyst at the Prison Policy Initiative. Bernadette’s research has focused on prison and jail visitation and making key criminal justice data accessible to the public. She co-authored the first comprehensive national report on the video visitation industry, Screening Out Family Time: The for-profit video visitation industry in prisons and jails, which has played a key role in protecting in-person family visits in Portland, Oregon and the state of Texas from the predatory industry. Her research was also essential to the movement that led the largest video visitation provider, Securus, to stop its automatic bans on in-person visits.

Bernadette has analyzed key Bureau of Justice Statistics data to make the criminal justice system easier to understand and therefore reform. She co-authored the report, Prisons of Poverty: Uncovering the pre-incarceration incomes of the imprisoned, which for the first time provides national income data for incarcerated women and Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2015, which answers essential questions like how many people are locked up, where, and why.

Bernadette is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley and has previously worked with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Voice of the Ex-Offender, and Californians United for a Responsible Budget.


picture of Alison WalshAlison Walsh joined us as the Policy & Communications Associate in January 2016. A 2009 graduate of Vassar College with a degree in American Culture, Alison comes to us after three years as a Fair Housing Investigator for the Fair Housing Council of Oregon and The Massachusetts Fair Housing Center.




Students, interns and volunteers

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.

picture of Yoo Eun KimYoo Eun Kim is a Senior at Smith College and has been a work-study Research Associate at the Prison Policy Initiative since Spring 2014. Among other responsibilities, she is responsible for our legislator outreach list.

Daniel Kopf is a data scientist in California who works with us through our Young Professionals Network on several exciting statistical projects including the recent reports, Prisons of Poverty: Uncovering the pre-incarceration incomes of the imprisoned and The Racial Geography of Mass Incarceration. He has a Masters in Economics from the London School of Economics.

Rebecca Neubauer is a first year law student at the University of North Carolina School of Law. She is conducting pro bono research on automatic suspension of drivers licenses for drug convictions unrelated to driving.

Stephen Raher is a lawyer in Oregon who works with us through our Young Professionals Network on projects at the intersection of criminal justice and finance or criminal justice and telecommunications. He wrote our report on the abusive release card industry and our comprehensive reply to sheriffs about their claim that they need to make money on phone calls home from their facilities.

Emily WidraEmily Widra is a first year student at the Smith College School of Social Work. She is working with us one afternoon a week on various research projects starting with a project on historical crime rates.

Joseph Miles Wobbleton is a first year law student at the University of North Carolina School of Law. He is conducting pro bono research on automatic suspension of drivers licenses for drug convictions unrelated to driving.



Consultants

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.

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Meet us

  • February 9, 2016:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be in Providence Rhode Island to testify in support of H7400 and ending prison gerrymandering at the House Judiciary Committee.
  • February 10, 2016:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner and Legal Director Aleks Kajstura will be at a press conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to call for an end to prison gerrymandering in Connecticut.

Not near you?
Invite us to your city, college or organization.

Events

  • February 9, 2016:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner will be in Providence Rhode Island to testify in support of H7400 and ending prison gerrymandering at the House Judiciary Committee.
  • February 10, 2016:
    Executive Director Peter Wagner and Legal Director Aleks Kajstura will be at a press conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to call for an end to prison gerrymandering in Connecticut.

Not near you?
Invite us to your city, college or organization.