Board of Directors and Advisory Board
Board of Directors*
- Lucius Couloute, Director
Assistant Professor, Suffolk University, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice (bio)
From 2017-18 Lucius Couloute worked with the Prison Policy Initiative as a Policy Analyst. He led our work examining reentry and the effects of criminalization, as well as our campaign to bring accountability to the video calling industry. Lucius received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and presently works as an assistant professor at Suffolk University in the Sociology and Criminal Justice department. His current work includes research on the disadvantages formerly incarcerated people face, the experiences of Black women with criminalized partners, and the impact of guaranteed income payments in the lives of people with felony records.
- Michelle Crentsil, Treasurer
Political Director, New York State Nurses Association (bio)
Michelle Crentsil is currently the Political Director of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), New York's largest nurses union, where she directs the union's political and legislative efforts advocating for health equity and workplace safety. She is deeply committed to the labor movement and the overall fight for social justice. Prior to joining NYSNA's political department, Michelle organized physicians at the Committee of Interns & Residents (CIR/SEIU) and property services workers at SEIU Local 32BJ, working on their campaign to organize airport workers in New York and New Jersey. She also funded and advised political and advocacy campaigns nationwide to end mass incarceration while on staff at Open Philanthropy. She comes from a family of healthcare workers and advocates and holds a bachelor's degree in African American Studies and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality from Harvard University.
- Sharon Cromwell, Clerk,
Deputy State Director, New York Working Families Party (bio)
Sharon Cromwell is the Deputy State Director of the New York Working Families Party. She has ten years of experience working with community-based organizations, labor unions, and advocacy organizations to launch new programs, develop member leaders, and lead legislative, budget and electoral campaigns. Prior to joining the Working Families Party, Sharon was the City Gun Violence Prevention Manager at Everytown for Gun Safety and previously worked on policy and strategic campaigns with SEIU 32BJ.
- Timothy Fisher, Director,
Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law (bio)
Tim Fisher recently completed a seven-year term as Dean at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he is now is Professor of Law. Tim is the founder of the Connecticut Innocence Fund, a first-in-the-nation revolving loan fund that assists exonerees. He has served on Connecticut’s task force on racial disparity in jury selection, has worked in money bail reform. Prior to his service as Dean he was President of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, the primary funder of legal aid in the state. Tim was in the private practice of law prior to joining UConn; he lives with his wife in Hartford.
- Elena Lavarreda, Director
New Jersey Political Director, SEIU 32BJ (bio)
Elena Lavarreda is the New Jersey Political Director for SEIU 32BJ, a labor union that represents essential
building service workers and fights for economic, social, and racial
justice for all working people. Elena’s first job after graduating from
Smith College in 2008 was as a research associate for the Prison Policy
Initiative. Among other projects, she co-authored reports about prison
gerrymandering in Massachusetts,
Massachusetts report became the basis of a resolution that
passed the state legislature in August 2014. In 2013 Elena returned
as a consultant and researched the effects of prison gerrymandering on
school board districts. She
lives in Brooklyn, NY with her dog and partner.
- Laurie Jo Reynolds, President
Policy advocate, researcher, and artist
Laurie Jo Reynolds is a policy advocate, researcher, and artist who challenges the demonization, warehousing, and social exclusion of people in the criminal legal system. Reynolds was the organizer of Tamms Year Ten, the grassroots campaign to close the notorious Illinois state supermax prison, shuttered by Governor Pat Quinn in 2013. Along with Solitary Watch, she co-leads the ongoing participatory project Photo Requests from Solitary. Reynolds also coordinates the Chicago 400 Alliance, developed in collaboration with people with past convictions who have been forced into homelessness due to Illinois housing banishment laws. The alliance has demonstrated how registry laws mandate adversarial police contact and have expanded the policing, surveillance, and incarceration of poor people in Chicago. She serves on the board of Narrative Arts, the legislative team of Parole Illinois, and is the UIC faculty advisor to the YES APPLY ILLINOIS! campaign to remove invasive and humiliating questions about past convictions from the admissions process in public higher education. Reynolds is Associate Professor, Public Arts, Social Justice, and Culture, in the School of Art & Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
- Carrie Ann Shirota, Director
Policy Director, ACLU of Hawai’i (bio)
Carrie Ann Shirota is the Policy Director of the ACLU of Hawai’i, and an attorney with a long history of working to advance civil rights and transformative justice in Hawai’i. She previously served as Director for a reintegration program on Maui, providing holistic and comprehensive support services to returning community members exiting jail. Carrie Ann’s selection as a Soros Justice Fellow and work for the Hawai’i Civil Rights Commission, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Public Defender, and University of Hawai’i Maui College, reflects her commitment to equity, self-determination for Indigenous Peoples, and ultimately justice in our beloved communities.
- Paul Watterson, Director
Paul Watterson is counsel to a New York based law firm, Schulte Roth & Zabel. Previously he was an officer of a bank in New York and London, and he has held various government positions, including Assistant to the Mayor of New York City. He is a graduate of the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Law School at Harvard University.
*Organizations for identification purposes only.
- Andrew Beveridge, Sociology, Queens College
- Alec Ewald, Political Science, University of Vermont
- Nora V. Demleitner,
Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law
- Alex Friedmann
- Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Earth and Environmental Sciences, City University of New York
- Barbara Graves-Poller, Senior Counsel, NYC Law Department, Appeals Division
- Ruth Greenwood, Co-Director of Voting Rights and Redistricting, The Campaign Legal Center
- Joseph “Jazz” Hayden, plaintiff, Hayden v. Pataki
- Dale Ho, Director of Voting Rights Project, ACLU
- Daniel Jenkins, democracy activist, plaintiff, Longway v. Jefferson
- Eric Lotke, attorney, researcher and author
- Bruce Reilly, Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People and Families Movement
- Brigette Sarabi, Partnership for Safety and Justice
- Jason Stanley, Professor of Philosophy, Yale University
- Heather Ann Thompson, Professor of History, University of Michigan
- Janice Thompson, Midwest Democracy Network
- Angela Wessels
- Brenda Wright, Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action
- Rebecca Young, Attorney
*Organizations for identification purposes only.