ISLG-Michael Jacobson

Michael P. Jacobson
Executive Director
T: 646-664-3481

Prior to joining CUNY in May 2013 to help create the Institute for State and Local Governance, Michael Jacobson was president of the Vera Institute of Justice, serving from 2005 to 2013. He is the author of Downsizing Prisons: How to Reduce Crime and End Mass Incarceration (New York University Press 2005). Holding a Ph.D. in sociology, he has had an ongoing academic career coupled with more than 20 years of government service. From 1998 to 2005 he was a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center of CUNY. He was New York City correction commissioner from 1995 to 1998, New York City probation commissioner from 1992 to 1996, and worked in the New York City Office of Management and Budget from 1984 to 1992 where he was a deputy budget director. In 2010 to 2012, Michael served as the chair of Altus, a global alliance working across continents and from a multicultural perspective to improve public safety and justice.

Larian Angelo
Senior Fellow

Before joining the operations management unit at ISLG, Larian most recently served as first deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) where, in addition to addressing myriad issues, she created and directed a new central savings system and unit. Previously at OMB, Larian served as deputy director for education, intergovernmental relations and community boards. Prior to OMB, Larian was vice president for administration and finance at Guttman Community College at CUNY. Earlier in her career, Larian served for 16 years in the finance division of the New York City Council, rising to director of the division. Larian received her Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research-Graduate Faculty and her B.A. from Brooklyn College in economics and history.

Kelsey Antle
Research Associate
T: 646-664-2306

Kelsey Antle analyzes quantitative and qualitative data on two projects: the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge and the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (CJII) Diversion and Reentry Support portfolio. As a part of her work on CJII, she also manages the process evaluation of the CJII College-in-Prison Reentry Program. Prior to working on these two projects, she worked on an ISLG study of frequent utilizers of criminal justice, health, and social service systems across ten jurisdictions. Before joining ISLG, Kelsey was a criminologist for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, designing a 15-county fiscal analysis of criminal justice debt across the United States. At the University of Florida, her research examined changes in child behavior following paternal incarceration among at-risk families in 22 cities, focusing on the role of maternal stress and depression, as well as changes in parenting practices. She also conducted mixed-methods interviews to understand the impact of parental jailing on children and their caregivers, and examined predictors of violent victimization among youth in different Chicago neighborhoods. Kelsey holds a B.A. summa cum laude in sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and both an M.A. and Ph.D. in criminology from the University of Florida.

Julia Bowling
Research Associate
T: 646-664-3477

Julia Bowling brings research experience to various projects at the institute, including capacity-building work to improve data and transparency at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and the development and implementation of the Equality Indicators framework in multiple cities. Prior to joining ISLG, Julia provided research and communications assistance for States of Incarceration, a national public dialogue and traveling museum exhibition about local histories of incarceration. Previously, she worked as a research associate in the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. At the Brennan Center, Julia researched the costs of mass incarceration and assisted with criminal justice policy research, analysis, and proposals. In 2015, she co-authored a report analyzing the impacts of increasing incarceration rates and other factors on declining crime rates. Her graduate work included policy analysis to improve access to reentry programs and services for people leaving New York City’s Rikers Island jail. Julia holds an M.S. in urban policy analysis and management from The New School, and a B.A. in economics and environmental studies from Oberlin College.

Iolanthe Brooks
Policy Analyst
T: 646-664-3495

Iolanthe (Io) Brooks supports the diversion and re-entry initiatives and the Training and Technical Assistance Program of the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. She is a recent graduate of Clark University, where she completed a B.A. in sociology and geography. Prior to joining ISLG, Io held internships at the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of Academic Engagement, as a policy intern at the National Network for Safe Communities, and as a research intern on a University of Massachusetts study of juvenile diversion. Her honors thesis was a mixed methods study of prison transfers, which move people between correctional facilities over the course of a sentence and which have complex ripple effects in the lives of those moved and their loved ones.

Siobhán Carney
Policy Director
T: 646-664-3484

Siobhán Carney leads ISLG’s policy agenda. As policy director, she manages policy staff and all work within the Policy Department portfolio, including the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. Prior to joining the Institute, she served as chief of staff and acting research director at the Vera Institute of Justice where she managed Vera’s research department and designed a performance levels system to inform staff development and promotion practices. She has also lectured on rural development and served as a consultant to the nonprofit sector in Ireland, as an evaluator for projects funded under the Peace and Reconciliation Program for Northern Ireland and the European Union LEADER program. She holds an M.A. in spatial analysis, a post-graduate diploma in education and a Ph.D. in geography from Trinity College.

ISLG Reagan Daly

Reagan Daly
Research Director
T: 646-664-3493

Reagan Daly is the research director at ISLG, with more than 10 years of experience developing and managing criminal justice research in applied settings. She has extensive experience in experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation design, implementation assessment, and performance measurement. Prior to joining the Institute, Reagan served as the assistant commissioner for research and planning at the New York City Department of Probation (DOP), and she was an associate research director at the Vera Institute of Justice. She has overseen the implementation of new risk-needs assessment instruments at DOP, including the development of a monitoring and validation plan, and, together with partners from the Center for Court Innovation, designed a quasi-experimental evaluation of DOP’s neighborhood-based model of probation supervision, called the Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON), that was funded by the National Institute of Justice. During her time at Vera, she oversaw, among other projects, a two-year mixed methods research study of parole violations for the New York State Division of Parole and an evaluation of New York City’s first Social Impact Bond Initiative. Reagan received her Ph.D. in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005.

Deanna Devlin
Research Associate

Deanna Devlin is a member of ISLG’s research team working on the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge. Currently, Deanna is completing her Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland where she has conducted a variety of research projects examining juvenile delinquency prevention strategies. Her dissertation focuses on the effects of parental involvement in maintaining discipline on school crime and how this effect may vary based on the level of community disadvantage. Deanna has experience in program evaluation and has spent several years contributing to a randomized controlled trial of a family therapy intervention targeting gang membership and crime outcomes among youth. Previously, Deanna served as the resource manager at the Coalition against Child Abuse and Neglect and interned at the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission in the Grants Management Unit. Additionally, Deanna taught the undergraduate Introduction to Criminal Justice course at the University of Maryland. Deanna received her B.S. in criminology from the College of New Jersey and her M.A. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland.

Elizabeth DeWolf
Policy Associate
T: 646-664-3441

Elizabeth has a background in urban sociology and visual art, with a research focus on equitable urban development. At ISLG she conducts policy research on re-imagining New York City’s criminal justice system, particularly the Department of Corrections, as well as research supporting the Equality Indicators project. Prior to joining ISLG, Elizabeth was competitions manager at Van Alen Institute, where she oversaw interdisciplinary research and design projects aimed at helping city governments solve complex urban challenges. Previously, Elizabeth was the 2013-2014 Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics, where she received an M.Sc. in City Design and Social Science. Her dissertation analyzed the influence of activism on urban development and public space in Istanbul, a city where she resided for several years teaching English, conducting research on grassroots activism, and supporting the Making City Istanbul project for Istanbul’s 2012 Design Biennial. Elizabeth also holds a B.A. in sociology and studio art from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.

Alison Dieguez
Senior Policy Associate
T: 646-664-3433

Alison Dieguez coordinates the Community Navigator project and Abusive Partner Intervention Program within the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. She has more than 10 years of experience working with survivors of violence and crime, immigrants, and members of marginalized communities. Prior to working at ISLG, she was the director of planning and community resilience at the Center for Court Innovation (CCI)’s Red Hook Community Justice Center. While at CCI, Alison developed, launched, and managed several court and community programs. Her portfolio at CCI included CARES, a trauma-informed victim service program, the Red Hook Responders, an outreach & case management program focusing on building community resilience, and the Housing Resource Center, which assisted public housing tenants who were involved with Red Hook’s Housing Court. She additionally led broader efforts in the areas of strategic planning, fundraising, and data management. Prior to this, Alison worked within the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Bureau of Mental Health and at Safe Horizon’s Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center. In this latter position, Alison participated in the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of allegations of severe physical and sexual abuse of children. Alison holds a B.A. from Purchase College at SUNY and an M.S.W. from Columbia University School of Social Work.

Jocelyn Drummond
Senior Research Associate
T: 646-664-3463

Jocelyn Drummond is an urban planner with experience in research, geographic information systems (GIS), urban design, and data visualization. Before joining ISLG, Jocelyn was a senior research analyst for the City of Boston’s Assessing Department where she conducted GIS analyses of real estate sales data and developed a regression model for the valuation of multi-family residential properties in Boston. Jocelyn received her Master in City Planning degree with a certificate in urban design from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her A.B. in architecture from Princeton University. Her master’s thesis explored the relationships between the built environment and health outcomes and the use of mapping and data visualization as tools for identifying and addressing inequalities in the health landscape of New York City. Previously, Jocelyn was a researcher for MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism, where she co-authored a report on health and urbanism, and an NYC Urban Fellow with the NYC Department of Transportation’s Urban Design and Art Unit.

Shaun Edwards
Senior Policy Associate
T: 646-664-3474

Shaun Edwards brings cost-benefit and fiscal policy experience to various projects across the Institute. Prior to joining ISLG, she worked as a senior consultant to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and provided technical assistance within the Office of Financial Management Systems for financial software solutions and business process engineering. Her experience includes analysis on federal budgeting and accounting procedures and analysis across financial transactions. While pursuing her Masters degree, Shaun worked as a policy fellow in the Office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, where she provided economic analysis and best practice research for policies in education, economic development, sustainability, and innovation delivery. Additionally, she has published a series of briefings for the Chicago Policy Review on issues tied to labor and finance, as well as child and family policy. Shaun holds a Master of Public Policy degree and a certificate in municipal finance from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.

Margaret Egan
Senior Fellow
T: 646-664-3467

Margaret manages work between ISLG and CUNY to make CUNY core operations more efficient and effective. Until recently, Margaret oversaw ISLG’s work on reform the New York City Department of Corrections and closing Rikers Island, including managing the staff to the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform alongside the Center for Court Innovation, the Vera Institute of Justice, and Forest City Ratner Companies. Prior to joining ISLG, she was the assistant secretary for public safety to Governor Cuomo, assisting in managing the Governor’s public safety portfolio, overseeing agency operations and implementation of the governor’s priorities for the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Division of Criminal Justice Service, and New York State Police among others. Previously, she was the director of policy & government affairs to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. In that role she oversaw intergovernmental affairs for the Sheriff as well as the development and implementation of a number of interventions to reduce the jail population and improve outcomes for those cycling through the criminal justice system, including spearheading implementation of the Affordable Care Act, making the Cook County Jail the first jail in the nation to enroll detainees under Medicaid expansion. She also led efforts to reduce illegal gun-trafficking and oversaw the Sheriff’s work to reduce evictions throughout Cook County. Margaret has served as the acting director of the Cook County Justice Advisory Council, developing criminal justice reform and violence reduction strategies for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. She has also served as a consultant to the University of Chicago Urban Labs advising on a number of social policy interventions and evaluations including summer youth employment, reentry planning, and correctional based education. She served on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s public safety transition team, as well as the advisory committee to the Mayor’s Public Safety Action Committee (Chicago), and Mayor DeBlasio’s Behavioral Health Task Force. She is an attorney, with a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago and master’s degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Ben Estep
Senior Research Associate

Ben Estep brings extensive experience in both criminal and juvenile justice reform and applied research and analysis. Most recently, he was the Head of Research at the Centre for Justice Innovation, a justice research and development charity, where he oversaw all research work and led projects on diversion from the justice system and improvements to the court system for youth and young adults. Before that, at the New Economics Foundation, he led a work stream dedicated to identifying and supporting promising practice in courts and across the youth justice system. Prior to that he was a researcher at the Vera Institute of Justice, where he worked on a range of projects in areas such as juvenile justice, international legal development, and child welfare.

Douglas Evans
Senior Research Associate

Douglas Evans is a faculty member at Fairleigh Dickinson University in the Criminal Justice Department. His work focuses on criminal stigma that the formerly incarcerated experience in housing and social networking, the effects of higher education in prison, the consequences of incarceration for public health and family stability, and evaluation of alternatives to incarceration for youth and adults. He has written successful federal, state, and foundation grants and has worked as a project and research director for these projects. Doug has taught college courses in prisons through Hudson Link (in collaboration with Mercy College), NJSTEP (in collaboration with Rutgers), and the Prison to College (through John Jay College) programs. He earned his Ph.D. at Indiana University–Bloomington and enjoys playing bass and basketball.

Jennifer Ferone
Associate Research Director

Jennifer Ferone is the associate research director at ISLG working with partners around data collection, performance measurement, monitoring, and evaluation for both the MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge and the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. Jennifer has extensive experience in the development and management of criminal justice research in applied settings. Prior to joining ISLG, Jennifer worked at the Vera Institute of Justice for more than seven years, managing a portfolio of research focused primarily on system involved young people in New York City. While at Vera, Jennifer was involved in providing research support and technical assistance to the Department of Probation and Administration for Children’s Services during the implementation of new risk and needs assessment tools and expanded continuum of community-based services to reduce the scope of the juvenile justice system and better serve young people in communities. She was also the primary data manager for NYC juvenile justice data. Jennifer received her M.A. in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is currently completing her doctorate in criminal justice at Rutgers University. Her dissertation centers on the experience of juvenile incarceration and how it impacts the reentry processes for young people coming home in New York City. She has also taught classes in corrections, juvenile justice/delinquency, and criminology at Rutgers University.

Alexandra Frosh
Policy Associate

Alexandra (“Lexie”) Frosh supports the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative and special projects under ISLG’s policy director. Prior to joining ISLG, Lexie served as the development and communications manager for the Reset Foundation in its pilot phase to open an education-focused residential alternative to incarceration for young adults in the San Francisco Bay Area. While in Oakland, she produced news reports for California’s KPFA Pacifica Radio—with segments covering such topics as the 2015 FCC decision to cap the rates of interstate and intrastate phone calls from prison. Lexie was previously a research assistant for the president/CEO of Living Cities, focusing on K-12 and post-secondary education reform. She holds a B.A. in sociology from Stanford University.

Myrtho Gardiner
Senior Policy Associate
T: 646-664-3561

Myrtho works with the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative managing the Family and Youth Development and Foster Youth Transitioning to Adulthood initiatives. Myrtho came to ISLG from the Department of Veterans Affairs where he worked as the veterans justice outreach coordinator helping justice-involved veterans navigate through the legal system.  Prior to this he worked at the psychiatric ward at the VA assisting veterans with pervasive mental health and substance abuse problems. He is currently a doctoral student in the Social Welfare program at the CUNY Graduate School. He received his master’s degree from Smith College School for Social Work and his bachelor’s degree from Loyola University in Maryland. Myrtho also has a certificate in trauma and recovery from the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. He is an adjunct lecturer at the Silberman School of Social Work and Columbia University School of Social Work. He is a community oriented clinical social worker in private practice, serves on the board of the Association of Black Social Workers, New York City chapter, and as a mental health consultant for CapraCare, Haiti, a community health program based in Fonfrede, Haiti.

Evan Goldstein
Policy Associate
T: 646-664-3456

Evan Goldstein supports the planning and implementation of diversion and reentry initiatives within the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. Previously, Evan worked at the Drug Policy Alliance where he promoted drug policy reform in New York State through research and advocacy. As a policy coordinator at DPA he supported and managed several projects, including the passage and implementation of the 911 Good Samaritan Law and state and local marijuana arrest reform campaigns. Evan has held internships at the Open Society Foundations where he focused on international and domestic drug and health policy issues and the Legal Aid Society where he provided support to indigent defense lawyers. Evan holds a Master in Public Affairs degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a B.A. from New York University.

Karen Goldstein
Counsel to the Executive Director
T: 646-664-3472

Prior to joining the Institute, Karen Goldstein was vice president and general counsel of the Vera Institute of Justice, serving between 2000 and 2015. In addition to her legal responsibilities, Karen supervised Vera’s large scale demonstration projects, managed its fiscal sponsorship program, created new not-for-profit organizations from existing programs, and authored Vera’s Spin-off Tool Kit (2007). She also served as Vera’s interim executive director during 2013. While at Vera, Karen served on the board of Altus, a global alliance working across continents and from a multicultural perspective to improve public safety and justice. In addition, she has had more than a dozen years of government service. She worked as general counsel to New York City’s Department of Homeless Services from 1994 to 2000 and in New York City’s Human Resources Administration, first as associate, then as deputy general counsel, from 1986 to 1990. Between 1990 and 1992, she worked at New York State’s Office of Court Administration, assisting the administrative judge to the Family Courts in the five boroughs of New York City. Karen began her legal career at the Legal Aid Society, first as a trial attorney in the Juvenile Rights Division and then as a supervising attorney in the Criminal Appeals Bureau. See a select list of her publications.

Patrick Hart
Program Director
T: 646-664-3460

Patrick Hart coordinates the Youth Opportunity Hub project within the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. His areas of expertise include improving outcomes for disconnected youth, community-based anti-poverty strategies, and workforce development. Previously, Patrick worked at the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) within the Mayor’s Office of Operations. At CEO, Patrick coordinated three programs being implemented by nonprofit providers in New York and several partner cities as part of a federal Social Innovation Fund grant. Patrick’s programs at CEO included Project Rise, a cohort-based education and employment initiative for disconnected youth; Jobs-Plus, a public housing-focused employment program; and WorkAdvance, a sector-focused job training, placement, and advancement strategy. Prior to CEO, Patrick’s work included work on affordable housing policy and programming at the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Patrick holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Bryn Herrschaft-Eckman
Senior Research Associate

Bryn Herrschaft-Eckman has more than 10 years of research, evaluation, and project management experience in a variety of arenas including criminal justice, health services, and medical certification. Prior to joining ISLG, Bryn served in a senior research and innovations manager role with the American Board of Internal Medicine for five years, managing research, innovation, and implementation activities around examinations for medical certification for physicians and conducting quantitative and qualitative research, including usability testing, on the development and implementation of assessment innovations. She has also previously served as the evaluation manager for the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, managing the evaluation of innovative healthcare interventions for vulnerable populations, and as a senior research associate with the Center for Court Innovation, working on reentry and tribal justice research and evaluation projects. At the Center for Court Innovation, Bryn was the principal investigator of a randomized control trial of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court, a lead in providing technical assistance to the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition to develop data collection tools and protocols for measuring domestic violence in tribal communities, and the on-site researcher for projects at the Harlem Community Justice Center. Bryn has also provided expertise in consultant roles on a variety of criminal justice research projects throughout her career, including various evaluations of community programs for the New Jersey State Parole Board. She has considerable experience implementing research and evaluation studies from the design to dissemination stages, developing performance and outcome metrics, providing oversight of project management activities, and working with frontline staff to use data to make modifications and improvements to practice and policy. Bryn holds a B.A. in psychology and sociology from New York University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in criminal justice from Rutgers University. She also teaches classes in criminal justice, including research methods, statistics, corrections, and graduate policy at Temple University and Rutgers University – Camden.

Emily Hotez
Research Associate
T: 646-664-3478

Emily Hotez is a researcher on the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge. Prior to joining ISLG, Emily collaborated on a diverse range of research projects focusing on autism spectrum disorder, teen parenting, and the intersection of poverty and child development. She has recently earned her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center. Her doctoral work focused on evaluating approaches to improving the early identification of autism in New York City. This work included providing education and support to primary care providers, Early Head Start centers, and families. Her research also focused on supporting families of children with autism through an evaluation of a parent-coaching intervention that aimed to enhance the quality of parent-child communication. Emily is an adjunct assistant professor in the psychology department at Hunter College, where she teaches psychology, child development, and research methods classes. In this role, she has also collaborated on the development of undergraduate psychology courses and college transition programs, and has conducted research on effective teaching strategies in higher education. Emily received her B.A. in psychology from the George Washington University.

Caroline Hugh
Research Associate
T: 646-664-3559

Caroline Hugh leads performance measurement under the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative’s youth, families, & communities focus area, working with grantees to develop metrics and analyze and synthesize performance data. Caroline earned her Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology with a certificate in social determinants of health from Columbia University. Her thesis explored how socioeconomic status operates on anger and distress among people incarcerated in state and federal prisons. Previously, she has held internships at Correctional Health Services where she helped research HIV prevalence and substance use, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene where she examined criminal justice referral to drug treatment, and Justice Now where she supported women in prison through advocacy and education. Caroline received her B.S. in biology and society from Cornell University.

Nathaniel Jones
Senior Policy Associate
T: 646-664-3490

Nate brings a range of research, analysis, and stakeholder engagement experience to ISLG. Prior to joining ISLG, Nate worked on New York State’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy as part of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, supporting the implementation of complex infrastructure resilience projects in compliance with Federal disaster recovery regulations. He previously worked on digital government transformation and energy security policy for Australian federal and state government agencies. Nate holds a Bachelor of International Studies (Hons) from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, and is completing a Master of Science in Public and Urban Policy at The New School.

Linda Kleinbaum
Senior Fellow
T: 646-201-2147

Linda Kleinbaum brings 30 years of executive government expertise to bear on all projects related to City government. Linda worked for 22 years at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. She served as deputy director of administration, responsible for capital program management, capital program funding, and the Office of Construction Oversight.  This position was charged with re-engineering all aspects of the $20+ billion capital program to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. Prior to this position, in addition to the capital program, Linda also oversaw real estate, procurement, facilities operation, IT, operations support and shared services. Linda started her career at the MTA as director of policy. Prior to the MTA, Linda held senior positions in New York City government, including chief of staff to the first deputy mayor of the City of New York, director of contracts for the Mayor’s Office of Operations, and director of management support for the New York City Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Prevention. Linda holds a J.D. degree from Georgetown University.

Besiki Luka Kutateladze
Senior Fellow

Besiki Kutateladze is currently advising the ISLG Equality Indicators team on the project expansion nationally and internationally. He was previously ISLG’s founding research director responsible for developing the vision and plan for the Institute’s research department, hiring and supervising research staff, overseeing all research projects, and building and maintaining relationships with funders and clients. Prior to joining the Institute, Besiki served as the research director for the Prosecution and Racial Justice Program of the Vera Institute of Justice, where he led studies based in five district attorney’s offices. He is an expert in the development of performance indicators. From 2008 to 2013, he played a crucial role in the development of the United Nations Rule of Law Indicators and their field testing in Haiti and Liberia. Before joining the Vera Institute, Besiki taught courses on comparative criminal justice and statistics at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and lectured and conducted research on criminal procedure at Tbilisi State University. In 2002, Besiki was the U.S. State Department Fellow from the Republic of Georgia. He holds a Ph.D. in criminal justice from the CUNY Graduate Center and a law degree from the Republic of Georgia.

ISLG-Victoria Lawson

Victoria Lawson
Senior Research Associate
T: 646-664-3491

Victoria Lawson directs the Equality Indicators, a multi-city project working with local stakeholders to develop tools to track progress towards equality, and contributes to multiple projects across the Institute, addition to performing general research and development work. Before joining ISLG, she conducted research at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she worked on a number of projects involving contributing causes to and potential remedies for wrongful conviction, and worked in the Research Department at the Innocence Project. In addition to her work on wrongful conviction, she has worked in a consulting capacity evaluating the effectiveness of continuing medical education courses and performance improvement initiatives, and taught undergraduate classes in psychology and research methods. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the Graduate Center of CUNY and an M.A. in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. See a select list of her publications.

Monique Lewis
Policy Associate

Monique Lewis is a policy associate with ISLG’s CUNY Administrative Excellence team. Monique has extensive experience in the public and private sector. Most recently, she worked for MTA Bridges and Tunnels as a management associate. During her tenure there, she worked as a part of the Strategic Initiatives and Community Affairs teams, which worked on the accelerated implementation of open road tolling in New York City. Prior to MTA Bridges and Tunnels, Monique work for Deutsche Bank and Standard and Poor’s as a part of their Business Operations teams. Monique holds a B.A. in sociology and criminal justice from Delaware State University and an M.S. in urban policy analysis and management.

Cecilia Low-Weiner
Research Associate

Cecilia Low-Weiner is a Research Associate working on the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge. She holds a Master of Science in Applied Social Research from Hunter College and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before moving into the field of criminal justice research, she worked primarily in education and youth development non-profits, designing curriculum and facilitating workshops. Most recently, she served as a Research Analyst for the Data Collaborative for Justice at John Jay College and prior to that, as a policy intern at JustLeadershipUSA.

Joe Marchese-Schmitt
Policy Analyst

Joe Marchese-Schmitt is a recent graduate from the University of Virginia, where he completed an accelerated Master’s in leadership and public policy at the Batten School of Public Policy, and a B.A. in sociology. Joe completed his Master’s thesis in collaboration with the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, in which he performed cost-effectiveness analyses on several interventions designed to reduce cancer incidence in the Medicaid population. While attending college, Joe acted as a junior policy analyst for the New York State Association of Beverage Centers. At NYSABC, he researched recycling best practices across the United States, and provided policy recommendations to keep the NYS Returnable Container Act functional in the face of rising costs. Joe brings expertise in benefit-cost analysis, statistical analysis, and social research to ISLG, and will be working to streamline the administrative functions of several New York City institutions. In his free time, Joe enjoys making and listening to music. In college, Joe sang with the Virginia Glee Club and played baritone in the Cavalier Marching Band. Joe is also a firm believer in the importance of community involvement, and is currently a volunteer firefighter and a boy scout leader in his hometown of Baldwin, NY.

Nicole McCullough
Policy Associate
T: 646-664-3462

Nicole McCullough works within the Enhancing Effectiveness Across Systems and Victims of Crime portfolios for the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. Her areas of expertise include behavioral health, children and family services, and crime victims advocacy. Prior to joining ISLG, Nicole served as both policy and training coordinator & domestic violence response team coordinator within the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV). At OCDV, Nicole engaged in policy analyses, provided technical assistance, and training to more than 7,000 NYC agency employees and community providers dedicated to helping survivors of intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and sex trafficking. She also coordinated a multi-disciplinary team of rapid responders, which provided services to victims who were at risk of lethality or serious re-assault. Nicole received advanced training in motivational interviewing, harm reduction, and applied suicide intervention skills as a crisis counselor and referral specialist with New York State’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and the Mental Health Association of NYC. She received her M.S.W. from New York University; her B.A. in communications from the University of the Pacific, and holds an Advanced Certification in Trauma Informed Care from New York University’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research.

Alessandra Meyer
Program Director
T: 646-664-3459

Alessandra Meyer works with ISLG’s policy team on the New York County District Attorney’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. Before joining ISLG, she was a senior program associate at the Vera Institute of Justice where she provided technical assistance to state and local government agencies and youth-serving nonprofit organizations on a number of juvenile justice reform initiatives. Her projects at Vera included Youth Futures, a multi-site initiative to improve the labor market and education prospects of youth involved in  juvenile justice, and the Status Offense Reform Center, an online resource center designed to help jurisdictions respond to youth who commit status offenses outside of the court system. Previously Alessandra produced documentaries for Charlotte Street Films, including The House I Live In, an examination of the U.S. war on drugs, and Why We Fight. Alessandra holds an M.P.A. and M.S.W. from Columbia University and a B.A. from New York University.

Neal A. Palmer
Senior Research Associate
T: 646-664-3496

Neal Palmer is a community researcher and community psychologist with experience managing numerous primary and evaluation research projects. Neal oversees performance monitoring and evaluation for the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, established by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and administered by ISLG. He has provided technical assistance to a variety of foundations, government agencies, and other organizations focused on youth, education, and anti-violence. Prior to joining ISLG, Neal was a senior research associate at GLSEN, a national organization addressing LGBTQ issues in education. While there, he advanced the organization’s work on school discipline and justice system involvement, discrimination, youth victimization, and local climate assessment. Neal was instrumental in developing the organization’s international technical expertise and research capacity, and conducted mixed-methods evaluations of the organization’s programs and initiatives. Additionally, Neal has taught courses in social science research methods; he holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in community research and action from Vanderbilt University. See a select list of his publications.

Kristen Parsons
Research Analyst
T: 646-664-3442

Kristen Parsons is a member of ISLG’s research team and contributes to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. Throughout her graduate education, Kristen has designed surveys, collected data, and performed descriptive as well as inferential statistical analyses on various criminal justice topics. For example, she developed several surveys to gauge the public’s perception of marijuana usage depending on the method of administration. Kristen holds a B.S. in criminal justice from Marist College and an M.S. in criminal justice from Roger Williams University. Her research interests include reentry and diversion; drug policy; eyewitness (mis)identification; the relationship between combat sports and aggression; and violence against women.

Herbert Regnier
Policy Associate

Herbert joins ISLG most recently from the Fortune Society, where he was director of educational services. In that role, he oversaw high school equivalency (HSE) and pre-HSE classes for formerly incarcerated individuals and also maintained external relationships for the program. Prior to Fortune, Herbert managed education and workforce development programs at the NYC Department of Education and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, particularly the Urban Ambassador program, which seeks to build the capacity of young men of color to combat the academic, social, and psychological challenges associated with student achievement and college aspirations. Herbert is a native New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn, whose parent emigrated from Haiti. Hebert received his bachelor degree from The New School, where he also did his graduate studies in global finance, and is a certified mentoring supervisor from Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York.

Monica P. San Juan
Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Aide to the Executive Director
T: 646-664-3483

Monica San Juan is responsible for the overall administrative operations of ISLG including human resources, facilities, office management, and technology. Working with the executive director and research and policy directors, she ensures that the Institute has the right systems in place to support its mission and various projects in an effective and efficient manner. Additionally, she provides support to the executive director by prioritizing opportunities and activities. Prior to joining the Institute she worked at the Vera Institute of Justice as special assistant to the president where she was the primary point of contact within the executive department for senior management, government partners, trustees and other outside stakeholders. Before beginning her career in the nonprofit sector, she worked at MetLife analyzing economic trends in Latin America. She received her B.A. in international relations and language and culture from the State University of New York at Purchase.

Vestina Sinkeviciute
Project Assistant
T: 646-664-3494

Vestina Sinkeviciute is the project assistant for ISLG. She works closely with the chief administrative officer/senior aide to the executive director to ensure all the necessary day-to-day functioning of ISLG is working in a timely and efficient manner. Vestina holds an associate’s degree in criminal justice from LaGuardia Community College and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she graduated cum laude. Vestina has completed internships with Judge Elizabeth A. Taylor at the Civil Court of the City of New York, Bronx County and with the CUNY Research Foundation as an administrative assistant for payroll orientation and student case management. Vestina is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, and she speaks fluent Lithuanian.

Kailey Spencer
Research Associate

Kailey Spencer is a member of ISLG’s research team where she works across multiple projects within the Institute’s criminal justice portfolio. She has a background in applied social science research, primarily in the field of education. Prior to joining ISLG, Kailey was a Research Associate with the New York City Department of Education. Previously, she conducted research on inequities in public school finance as the Senior Data Analyst at EdBuild. Kailey received an interdisciplinary B.A. from Hunter College and later earned her Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Taylor Swabb
Policy Analyst

Taylor Swabb brings economic and financial statistical analysis to ISLG. Prior to joining ISLG, Taylor worked for the Oklahoma Tax Commission to create valuations of complex, synergistic companies, including gas pipelines and airlines. He collected macroeconomic data for use in industry capitalization rates and worked with regression models for income analysis. Taylor is working on projects in partnership with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to provide cost efficiency analysis, and support research and policy for a number of projects at ISLG. Taylor holds a B.A. in economics from Oklahoma State University.

Michele Toplitz
Senior Policy Associate
T: 646-664-3498

Michele Toplitz brings 10 years of policy research and evaluation experience to ISLG. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked as a research associate at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in Washington, D.C. Michele was a key member of a team supporting the Transportation Security Administration’s continuous efforts toward improving its performance. This series of studies examined the scientific basis for a behaviorally-based screening approach, evaluated program effectiveness, and developed individual and organizational performance indicators. She has also co-authored several evaluations of literacy programs in urban school districts as well as supported the development and validation of assessments to measure teacher quality and effectiveness. Michele holds an M.A. in psychology from The New School for Social Research, and a B.A. in anthropology/sociology and Spanish from Lafayette College.

Rebecca Tublitz
Senior Research Associate
T: 646-664-3475

Prior to joining ISLG, Rebecca served as the inaugural Justice Fellow in the Division of Recidivism Reduction and Re-Entry at the California Department of Justice. There, she directed data collection and analysis of state and local recidivism outcomes after public safety realignment and provided expertise in statistical programming and quantitative data analysis to evaluations of alternative to incarceration and re-entry programs supported by the DOJ. She has served in a variety of research capacities at the Public Policy Institute of California and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. She also worked with the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she conducted a quasi-experimental impact evaluation of an innovative law enforcement and public health anti-violence initiative in East Palo Alto, California. Rebecca began her career in the criminal justice field at the Vera Institute of Justice, contributing to multiple studies of jail and prison overcrowding, pretrial diversion programs, probation supervision models, and court case processing in both criminal and family court systems. Rebecca holds a Master of Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Barnard College.

Meredith Weill
Associate Counsel
T: 646-664-3419

As associate counsel, Meredith Weill provides legal advice across program areas at the Institute. Before joining ISLG, Meredith was an assistant district attorney in the Public Integrity Bureau at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, where she investigated and prosecuted government corruption cases. From 2011 to 2014, Meredith served as an assistant counsel to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. In that position, she provided legal and policy advice to the Governor, authored legislation, implemented legislative programs and policy initiatives, and supervised a portfolio of state agencies with regard to legal, programmatic, and administrative matters. Meredith holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, an M.A. in social sciences from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in American studies from Amherst College.

Emily West
Senior Research Associate
T: 917-446-6763

Emily West has more than 15 years of research and evaluation experience across a broad array of disciplines including criminal justice, education, and youth development. Prior to joining ISLG, Emily was the research director at the Innocence Project where she was responsible for systematically organizing and utilizing internal client data as well as data on DNA exonerations nationwide to both support policy reform efforts aimed at improving the criminal justice system and promote more research on wrongful convictions. She has extensive experience designing and implementing research studies, managing large and complex data systems, and performing advanced data analyses. Emily holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in sociology and criminology.