Lisa Freeland is the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Pennsylvania. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Tufts University in 1984 and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1994. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. After receiving her journalism degree, Ms. Freeland worked for American Lawyer Media, LP, where she served as Associate Editor of The American Lawyer magazine and as a reporter for San Francisco’s daily legal newspaper, The Recorder. After graduation from law school, Ms. Freeland served as a law clerk to the Honorable Timothy K. Lewis, then a member of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She was a Visiting Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and staff attorney at the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York City before joining the Federal Public Defender’s office as a Research and Writing Specialist in 1999. Ms. Freeland is a frequent faculty member at local and national CLE programs, speaking regularly on sentencing issues, appellate advocacy, procedural issues in habeas corpus cases, and ethics, among others. She is a native of Pittsburgh and is active in her local community, having served on a number of boards, including the Urban League of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Branch NAACP, and the ACLU of Greater Pittsburgh. She is also a founding member of the Board of Governors of the Bar Association of the Third Federal Circuit and a past board president. Her practice focuses primarily on criminal appeals and habeas corpus cases.
KEMPIS GHANI SONGSTER
Kempis Songster (he/him/his), also known as Ghani, is a legal worker, organizer, and powerful public speaker. He served 30 years of a death by incarceration sentence in Pennsylvania after being sentenced as a child. Ghani is a founding member of Right 2 Redemption and the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration. He is also a staff member with the Amistad Law Project in Philadelphia.
JULES LOBEL, VICE PRESIDENT
Jules Lobel is the Bessie McKee Walthour Endowed Chair at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is the former President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a national human and constitutional rights organization headquartered in New York City. He has litigated numerous cases involving Constitutional and Human Rights issues in the United States Courts and has represented members of Congress challenging various Presidents – both Democrat and Republican – assertions of Executive power to unilaterally initiate warfare. Lobel has been involved in various cases challenging aspects of US policy toward suspected terrorists, including Rasul v. Bush, arguing for habeas corpus rights for Guantanamo detainees, Arar v. Ashcroft, seeking damages for a Canadian citizen who alleged that he was wrongfully rendered to Syria to be tortured by high U.S. officials, and Holder v. HLP, a Supreme Court case challenging aspects of the material aid to terrorism statute as violative of the First Amendment.
Lobel has authored several books, including Success Without Victory: Lost Legal Battles and the Long Road to Justice in America, as well as numerous articles on international and constitutional law in publications including Yale Law Journal, Harvard International Law Journal, Cornell Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review and Virginia Law Review. In 2007, Lobel co-authored the award winning book, Less Safe, Less Free: Why America is Losing the War on Terror with Professor David Cole, which won the first Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize for exemplary scholarship exploring the tension between civil liberties and national security.
Jihad Abdulmumit is the Chairperson of the National Jericho Movement, which supports political prisoners in the United States and works to win their freedom through amnesty. He is a community activist, playwright, and health care provider. He works as a Community Case Manager at a free health clinic and gives HIV/STI workshops in schools and prisons, does HIV testing in jails/prisons, and case manages HIV + inmates upon their release. He and his wife own their own community theater company – For Our Children Productions – which produces several original social/political theme orientated performances a year. He has a MBA, with a concentration in Health Services from Strayer University.
Jihad was a domestic political prisoner and prisoner of war, and served 23 years of his life in prison for his involvement in the Black Liberation Movement. He joined the Black Panther Party at sixteen and eventually went underground in the ranks of the Black Liberation Army. Most of his time was served in Lewisburg and Leavenworth Federal penitentiaries. In the mid-seventies prior to his incarceration, Jihad was also the Coordinator of the Rochester Federation of Youth in Rochester, New York – a youth organization that sponsored community economic development projects, weekly political education and black history classes, and worked with troubled teens.
Terri Minor-Spencer is the Founder and President of West End P.O.W.E.R. – a non-profit providing employment, education, and civic engagement opportunities and resources for West End communities in Pittsburgh. She is also the Outreach Coordinator of The Community of Change Center – a safe space for community members and returning citizens to socialize and support one another thru six-month training programs focused on home economics, Spanish language learning, G.E.D. and job/entrepreneur readiness. Terri is an Organizer with PIIN (Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network) and has served on the committee of 412FAMM. She received a proclamation from the City of Pittsburgh declaring October 7th Terri Minor-Spencer Day for Terri’s commitment to activism, community outreach, and volunteerism.
Terri has been featured in Public Source, NOBLE Magazine (National Organization of Black Legal Executives), and 90.5 WESA for her segment, The People Who Make The Place They Live A Better Place. She was a candidate for The Jefferson Awards and co-hosted the 2019 Juneteenth Black Tie Affair. Terri is a graduate of Emerge America, a training program that teaches women how to run for office. In 2018, Terri ran her debut campaign and won! She is the 12th District 20th Ward Democratic Committee Woman.
JASMINE GONZALES ROSE
Jasmine Gonzales Rose is a Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as Editor-In-Chief of the Harvard Latino Law Review and a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. After law school, she clerked for Judge Damon J. Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Judge Hector M. Laffitte of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. She has also worked for a variety of non-profit and governmental organizations on issues of civil and human rights. Currently she serves on the Boards of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Greater Pittsburgh and the Abolitionist Law Center.
Professor Gonzales Rose is a critical proceduralist and is particularly interested in the intersections of race, language, citizenship, and lay participation in the legal system. She teaches courses in Evidence, Civil Procedure (including Complex Litigation with an emphasis on social change), and Race and the Law. In 2014, she received Pitt Law’s Distinguished Public Interest Professor Award and was selected as an inaugural Derrick A. Bell Fund for Excellence Scholar. Professor Gonzales Rose was awarded the Robert T. Harper Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015
JAMELIA MORGAN, PRESIDENT
Jamelia is the former Arthur Liman Fellow at the ACLU National Prison Project (NPP). At NPP, Jamelia worked on the ACLU’s Stop Solitary campaign seeking to end the practice of solitary confinement in our nation’s prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers through public policy reform, legislation, litigation, and public education. Jamelia is the author of a 2017 ACLU report titled Caged In: Solitary Confinement’s Devastating Harms on Prisoners with Physical Disabilities. She is a 2013 graduate of Yale Law School, where she was an active member of the Criminal Defense Project and the Detention and Human Rights Clinic. Jamelia is a 2006 graduate of Stanford University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Master of Arts degree in Sociology.
etta cetera grew up in the deep deep suburbs of Washington DC moving to Pittsburgh in 1998. She is a community organizer and artist who is deeply committed to transformative & racial justice. She was pulled into the issues of mass incarceration through the wisdom and freedom struggle of Mumia Abu-Jamal alongside having a penpal in prison. Beginning in the year 2000 etta has co-founded many Pittsburgh based organizations including: Book ‘Em, Pittsburgh’s Books to Prisoner program and HRC – FedUp! the Pittsburgh chapter of Human Rights Coalition that advocates for incarcerated people who are suffering human rights abuses. In 2011 etta co-founded WHAT’S UP (Working and Healing to Abolish Total Supremacy, Undermining Privilege) a group formed to support, encourage & challenge white people to work for racial justice. Currently, etta spends the majority of her time working with Let’s Get Free: The Women & Trans Prisoner Defense Committee. etta also works as an on-call medical advocate for Pittsburgh Action Against Rape and as a housekeeper & declutterer.
CARL REDWOOD, JR.
Carl Redwood, Jr. has served as chairperson of the Hill District Consensus Group and was Chairperson of the One Hill Community Benefits Agreement Coalition. Carl is a social worker and has participated in various community organizing efforts on the local, national, and international levels. He has been part time faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social work for many years.
ANITA COLON, TREASURER
Anita Colon grew up in the SpringGarden section of Philadelphia and attended J.R. Masterman High School. She went on to attend Villanova University where she majored in Criminal Justice and obtained a Master’s Degree in Human Services from Lincoln University. Anita is a human rights and juvenile justice advocate currently serving on the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Prison Society Board of Directors. She is also the Pennsylvania State Coordinator for the Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth and serves on the steering committee of the PA Coalition for Fair Sentencing of Youth as well as the Board of Directors of Reconstruction, Inc.
In these roles, Anita advocates for juvenile justice reform in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States, specifically the elimination of juvenile life without the possibility of parole. Anita ‘s advocacy work came about as a result of her brother’s life sentence for a crime he was convicted of participating in on his 16th birthday 27 years ago. Anita has testified before the US House of Representatives and the PA Senate and House Judiciary Committees concerning the elimination of Juvenile Life Without Parole Sentencing. She also recently served on the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission Juvenile Act Advisory Committee which provided a report recommending changes to the existing laws as they relate to juvenile offenders and currently serves on the PA Lt. Governor’s Board of Pardons Advisory Council (LGBOPAC).
Shandre Delaney is a former board member and Secretary of the Abolitionist Law Center. For several years she was a lead organizer with the Justice for the Dallas 6 Support Campaign. She has been an activist since 2008 with the Human Rights Coalition (HRC), a prisoner’s rights group founded by Pennsylvania prisoners and their supporters, and currently leads the Prisoner Justice and Whistleblower Support Campaign to protect prisoners facing retaliatory abuse.
ROBERT SALEEM HOLBROOK
Robert Saleem Holbrook is ALC’s Director of Community Organizing. He is a co-founder of the Human Rights Coalition, an organization with chapters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that is composed of family members of prisoners and which advocates on behalf of the civil and human rights of prisoners. He also sit on the advisory boards of the Amistad Law Project and Youth Arts and Empowerment Project, and is a member of 1Hood, a movement of socially conscious hip hop artists and community activists, for which he started a prison chapter called 1Hood United to help mentor youth in Pennsylvania’s state prisons. He has a degree in paralegal studies and has written extensively on issues related to prison abuse, social injustice and juveniles charged and sentenced as adults. He was released from prison in 2018 after spending over two decades incarcerated for an offense he was convicted of as a child offender.
Carrington Keys is a formerly incarcerated activist, jail house lawyer and member of a group of men who are known as the Dallas 6. A group of men who were charged with riot after peacefully protesting the prison conditions in solitary confinement. Carrington successfully represented himself in court to have riot charges dismissed along with six felony assault charges. While incarcerated Carrington studied law, and took courses for Paralegal through Ashworth College. Carrington also worked closely with the Human Rights Coalition by compiling documents and reports to support investigations of inhumane treatment within the Pennsylvania prison system. Upon dismissal of riot charges and after winning an appeal against the Parole board Carrington was released from prison. Carrington now works at the Abolitionist Law Center as a Paralegal, does public speaking at colleges, elementary schools, churches and town halls. Carrington is also a published author of The Price Men Pay for Standing Up To an Injustice System.
Quinn Cozzens is a Staff Attorney with ALC. He is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a 2016 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. His work with ALC focuses primarily on ALC’s Release from Prison docket and ending death by incarceration. Quinn was the lead researcher and writer for A Way Out: Abolishing Death By Incarceration in Pennsylvania
Lauren Johnson is the Program Coordinator and Mitigation Specialist for ALC. She graduated from California University of Pennsylvania in 2015 with a graduate degree in social work. Prior to working with ALC, Lauren has worked and volunteered in various aspects of the nonprofit sector, including domestic violence advocacy, HIV/AIDS awareness, international development, mental health services, and disaster relief.
John Rowland is the coordinator of statewide campaigns for ALC, working primarily on the campaigns to end long-term solitary confinement and death by incarceration sentences in Pennsylvania. He received a PhD from the University of Michigan in 2012 and has taught in numerous prisons and prison education programs, in addition to organizing in various grassroots advocacy and power-building campaigns. A member of the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration and the Human Rights Coalition, he believes in organizing that’s grounded in directly impacted people (inside and outside the walls) and also builds coalitions and broad long-term power.
Jaclyn Kurin is an ALC Staff Attorney, barred in Washington, D.C. She received her J.D. from George Mason Law School in 2016 and her LL.M from UCLA Law School in 2019, where she specialized in Criminal Justice. She also earned a master’s in Advocacy Journalism from Georgetown University in 2010. Kurin has worked at a civil rights employment law firm, interned at Fair and Just Prosecution and the Office of the Public Defender in Rockville, Maryland. For several years, she volunteered at Offender Aid Restoration and taught classes to inmates at the Arlington County Detention Center in Virginia. Kurin also has published several law journal articles on prison reform, bail, and police misconduct. Additionally, Kurin worked at Los Angeles civil rights law firm, where she helped establish a new claim for suing the police, which has been recognized in federal court. Kurin’s work at ALC focuses on pursuing claims against the Allegheny County Jail for its treatment of inmates.
Dustin McDaniel is a Co-Founder and the Executive Director of ALC. He is a 2012 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the University of Pittsburgh School of Public and International Affairs. Dustin has led ALC’s efforts to link the prison abolitionist and environmental justice movements. He was the lead investigator and editor of No Escape, a 2014 report on environmental and health conditions at State Correctional Institution Fayette, as well as a lead organizer and attorney representing ALC in the Barroca v. Bureau of Prisons NEPA lawsuit to stop constrution of a $500 million federal prison in Letcher County, KY.
Bret Grote is a Co-Founder and the Legal Director of ALC. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he was recognized as the Distinguished Public Interest Scholar for his graduating class. Bret was also the Isabel and Alger Hiss Racial Justice Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights in 2012. In addition to his work at Abolitionist Law Center, Bret has been a volunteer investigator, organizer, and researcher with the Human Rights Coalition since 2007.
Autumn Redcross, Ph.D. directs ALC’s Court Watch Program in Pittsburgh. As a Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at Point Park University Redcross has taught liberal arts subjects including Critical Race Studies, Sex, Gender and Identity Politics, and Public Speaking. Redcross served as the inaugural Gaultier Community-Engaged Teaching Fellow to the Community Engagement Teaching and Learning Center. She also trained as a Democratic Conversations Coordinator through Everyday Democracy and completed her certification as an Inside/Out pedagogy instructor. Redcross attended the International Institute for Restorative Practices in Bethlehem, Pa., which added to her interest in democratic education, community-trauma informed engagement and restorative justice. Originally from Philadelphia, Redcross lost her brother to street violence which became the starting point for her interest in this work.
William is the Assistant to the Executive Director at ALC. He has worked as a teaching artist, caseworker and non-profit administrator with public schools, neighborhood centers, and youth re-entry programs across Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2011, William became active in organizing against the school-to-prison pipeline and was a participant in the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Program in 2012. He has taught various workshops on social movement histories, queer ecologies, white supremacy, and symbiosis/mutual aid since then.