Board of Directors and Advisory Board
Board of Directors*
- Sharon Cromwell, Director,
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.
- Nora V. Demleitner, Director
Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law
- Ed Epping, Director
AD Falck Professor of Art, Emeritus (bio)
Ed Epping taught undergraduate studio art for 44 years before retiring in 2017. During his 40 years at Williams College in Massachusetts, he served as department chair, led the W.L.S. Spencer Studio Art Building Committee, was the Faculty Director of the Davis Center, and a member of the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. His studio practice, since 2015, has been devoted to the Corrections Project, an ongoing, multi-tiered process questioning overcriminalization and mass imprisonment in the United States. His work addresses this crisis’s complexity through online pamphlets, objects, books, and public art. His work is in the Museum of Modern Art-Artists Books Collection, Yale, Harvard, the Center for Creative Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago, and the Getty Center. Epping received an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- 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.
- Daniel Kopf, Treasurer
2016 interview (bio)
Dan Kopf is the data editor of Quartz and
worked as a data scientist before becoming a journalist. He lives in
Oakland, California and has been volunteering with the Prison Policy
Initiative since February 2015. He is the co-author of several Prison
Policy Initiative reports, including The Racial Geography of Mass
by Bars and Miles:
Visitation in state prisons, Prisons of Poverty: Uncovering the
pre-incarceration incomes of the imprisoned, and Detaining the Poor: How money bail
perpetuates an endless cycle of poverty and jail time.
- Elena Lavarreda, President
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.
- Bernadette Rabuy, Clerk
Trial Attorney, Homicide/Major Crime Defense Unit, New York County Defender Services (bio)
Bernadette Rabuy is a Trial Attorney in the Homicide & Major
Crime Defense Unit at New York County Defender
Services and a Senior Policy Analyst at the Prison Policy Initiative.
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 calls 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, California, and Texas.
Her research has also included Detaining the Poor: How money bail
perpetuates an endless cycle of poverty and jail time, which finds that
the median bail bond amount in the U.S. represents eight months of income
for the typical detainee.
- Leslie M. Smith, Director
Founder / CEO DistancEd. Inc (bio)
Leslie, is a veteran, an ex-police officer, and recently retired from the IBM Corporation as a Business Development Executive, where he had a rewarding career that allowed him to travel worldwide, experience various cultures, political views, and economic/social differences. He founded DistancEd. Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire, educate, empower and motivate those that deserve a second chance (formerly incarcerated, veterans and the underserved). His work as a volunteer, while at IBM and afterwards, focuses on using technology to develop programs that give the disenfranchised satisfying and fulfilling lives. His leadership and expertise has been recognized by IBM, start-up companies and various nonprofits to include four Presidential Volunteer Service Awards (Presidents Bush and Obama respectively).
- 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
- Lucius Couloute, Sociology, Suffolk University
- Alec Ewald, Political Science, University of Vermont
- 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.