About Us

Those closest to the problem are closest to the solution,
but furthest from resources and power.


JustLeadershipUSA is dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in #halfby2030. JLUSA empowers people most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform.

Mass incarceration is the most significant domestic threat to the fabric of our democracy. The reason for such high incarceration rates is not serious crimes but misguided policies such as mandatory minimums, three-strikes laws and reductions in the availability of parole and other early release mechanisms. Through targeted advocacy, strengthening leadership and membership support, JustLeadershipUSA believes a decarcerated America is possible.

“I believe that the launching of JustLeadershipUSA will be viewed, one day, by historians and advocates alike as a true game changer: the moment in the emerging movement when formerly incarcerated people finally had a chance to be heard, to organize, and to influence policy in major ways — even though many of them still lacked the right to vote.”

Michelle Alexander Author of The New Jim Crow and long-time civil rights advocate
JLUSA Advisory Board Member



Trains and supports formerly incarcerated people to become stronger and more effective leaders


Organizes and supports decarceration advocacy campaigns on the local, state and federal levels


Engages members to help build support and raise awareness through advocacy and activism

Team Members

Interim CEO & Vice President
Brent J. Cohen
Senior Advisor
Tom Ochs
Chief of Staff
Valrie Fowler
Senior Training Consultant
David Mensah

Administrative Associate (Washington D.C.)
Amber Artis
Development & Communications Associate
Alexander L. Bryden
Community Organizer
Sarita Daftary-Steel
Office Administrator
Jillian Dillah

Design & Digital Media Associate
David Etheridge-Bartow
Fair Hiring Project Coordinator
Megan French-Marcelin
New York State Campaign Coordinator
Erin George
Community Organizer
Vidal Guzman

Senior Policy Analyst
Dylan Hayre
New York City Campaign Coordinator
Brandon J. Holmes
Director of Policy & Campaigns
Janos Marton
Harvey Murphy

Director of Communications
Monica Novoa
Membership Coordinator
Anastasija Ocheretina
New York Statewide Organizer
Katie Schaffer
Training and Logistics Coordinator
Melissa Shillingford

Alumni Associate
Ronald Simpson-Bey
Lead National Organizer
Lex Steppling

Board of Directors

Annabel Davis-Goff
Bruce Western
David Solomon
Jackie Mann
In Memorium
Lawrence V. Gelber
Robert Liu
Sue A. Kaplan, J.D.
Board Chair
Vivian D. Nixon

Advisory Board Members

New York
Barbara Edwards Delsman
New York
Charlita Cardwell
North Carolina
Daryl V. Atkinson
Dorsey Nunn
New York
Felicia Reback
New York
Francis Greenburger
Michelle Alexander
Norris Henderson
New York
Piper Kerman
William “Bill” Cabin