Board and Staff

BOARD

ASHLEY JIMENEZ

Ashley Jimenez has been a social worker in Philadelphia for over a decade. Her primary area of focus during that time has been medical and homeless/housing case management. She has worked with a wide range of populations, to include the formerly incarcerated and their families.  Ashley currently acts as the Director of Case Management/Social Services for Center for Hope, a city funded shelter serving single adult men and women experiencing homelessness. In her position Ashley is responsible for all programmatic endeavors, staff training and oversight and ensuring all compliance for her department.

Ashley is an active member of Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement-Philadelphia Chapter and the Philadelphia Home and School Council. In the area of advocacy Ashley has prioritized the issue of justice, working on campaigns such as Defund the Police and opt-out testing in schools. She has worked on political education initiatives and consistently participates in parent organizing endeavors. Ashley is a wife, the mother of four boys and currently resides in the Germantown area of Philadelphia.

RUKIA LUMUMBA

Rukia Lumumba is a transformative justice strategist, the founding director of the People’s Advocacy Institute, co-director of the Electoral Justice Project of the Movement of Black Lives, and the campaign manager of the Committee to Elect Chokwe Antar Lumumba for Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi.

Rukia has spent over 15 years defending the human rights of those inside prison cells, working with community & advocates to alter the landscape of injustice in American courts, prisons and cities. She is currently co-chairing the JXN People’s Assembly to create a community led-governance model that advances and increases people center policy, practice and power.

Rukia holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in international relations from Tougaloo College in Mississippi. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. and has studied law and politics in South Africa at the University of Forte Hare and the University of the Western Cape.

LISA FREELAND

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

Ghani

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

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

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 Boston University School of Law and Associate Director of Policy at the BU Center for Antiracist Research. She is a critical proceduralist and is particularly interested in the intersections of racism and linguicism within two areas: juries and evidence. She is a leading criticalist voice on Evidence Law, with a focus on the evidentiary issues raised by racialized police violence. She is also an expert on juror language disenfranchisement. She is an award-winning teacher who has taught courses on Evidence; Criminal Law; Race and the Law; Latinxs and the Law; Civil Procedure; Civil Rights Law; and Complex Litigation for Social Change. Professor Gonzales Rose is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor-in-chief of the Harvard Latinx Law Review and a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. She clerked for Judge Héctor M. Laffitte of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico and Judge Damon J. Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. She has worked for a variety of nonprofit and governmental organizations on issues of civil and human rights and currently serves on the Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law.

JAMELIA MORGAN, PRESIDENT

Jamelia Morgan 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.

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).

STAFF

ROBERT SALEEM HOLBROOK

Robert Saleem Holbrook is the Executive Director of the Abolitionist Law Center, a law project dedicated to ending race and class based discrimination in the criminal justice system and all forms of state violence. ALC has offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Prior to being named Executive Director of ALC he was its Director of Community Organizing responsible for expanding ALC into Philadelphia. He also led ALC’s campaigns against Death By Incarceration (Life Without Parole), Solitary Confinement and State Violence. He has worked with Center for Constitutional Rights to end Death By Incarceration sentences in the United and the National Unlock The Box Campaign to End Solitary Confinement. 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. HRC advocates on behalf of the civil and human rights of prisoners. He is also a co-founder of the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration in Pennsylvania, an advocacy group fighting to end Life without Parole Sentences. He sits on the advisory boards of the Amistad Law Project and Youth Arts and Empowerment Project. While incarcerated he wrote extensively on prison abuse, social injustice, state violence and juveniles charged and sentenced as adults. His writings were featured in Truthout, The Appeal, San Francisco Bay View, and Solitary Watch. He was released from prison in 2018 after spending over two decades incarcerated for an offense he was convicted of as a child offender.

DOLLY PRABHU

Dolly Prabhu is a Staff Attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow at ALC. Her fellowship is sponsored by McDermott Will & Emery. She is a 2020 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Her fellowship focuses on challenging probation and parole practices in Pennsylvania.

SAUDIA DURRANT

Saudia Durrant is a racial justice organizer with the Abolitionist Law Center. She received a Bachelors Degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2015 and organized one of the first and largest labor union agreements with food service workers in the Philadelphia International Airport through UNITE HERE. After receiving her degree, she worked as a Board Operator at 900AM WURD, the only African-American owned and operated radio station in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2017, she joined the Philadelphia Student Union as a youth organizer, developing young people to advocate, organize for educational justice, focusing on key issues including school funding, toxic school conditions, and the school to prison pipeline. She supported youth in organizing new school chapters including SLA Beeber, Girls High, and Paul Robeson, as well as the first middle school chapter, Lingelbach elementary. In May 2020, she completed the Trudy Haynes Reporting Fellowship with PhillyCam, a community media center committed to teaching, and distributing locally and independently produced media content.

JOHN THOMPSON

John Thompson, is a social and political organizer with the Abolitionist Law Center, primarily working and advocating to eliminate Death By Incarceration, Solitary Confinement, and the release of all Geriatric/elderly prisoners. He is the founder and Executive Director of New Hope Community Services, a grassroots community organization, advocating for both social and political issues. He is also the co-founder of Urban Inspiration, a community organization that provides resources, and mentoring to children and young adults. He has organized political campaigns for candidates in both the state and national elections. John spent over 37 years in prison, after being convicted at the age of 17, and sentenced to Death By Incarceration. He has a degree in paralegal studies, and worked as a jailhouse lawyer for over 20 years while incarcerated in state prison. He currently sits on the Data & Safety Monitoring Board of the National Institute of Health and National Institute on Aging. He currently resides in Philadelphia Pennsylvania with his wife and young daughter.

AMBER BLACK

Amber Black brings two decades of fundraising, communications, events, and public relations know-how to her work as the ALC’s Development Manager. Her experience is grounded in supporting activists and their families (including US political prisoners), and movements for radical social change. She believes in the power of combining art + activism, and is especially passionate about the struggles against mass incarceration and for racial justice, immigrants’ rights, civil liberties, and sustainable and equitable foodways and natural resources.

JONAS CABALLERO

Jonas Caballero is a Paralegal at the Abolitionist Law Center in Pittsburgh. He served as a jailhouse lawyer in New York where he filed two successful pro se Section 1983 actions and is the lead plaintiff in a class action challenging New York’s policy of denying admission to early release programs to prisoners with mental health disabilities. Jonas graduated from Pitt with Bachelors of Philosophy in International & Area Studies and Professional Communications. He received a Master of Philosophy in Middle Eastern Studies from Cambridge, where he studied as a US-UK Fulbright Scholar.

QUINN COZZENS

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

SHANDRE DELANEY

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.

JOHN ROWLAND 

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

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

Dustin McDaniel is ALC’s Director of Operations. 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 construction of a $500 million federal prison in Letcher County, KY.

BRET GROTE

Bret GroteBret Grote is 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.

AUTUMN REDCROSS

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 LUKAS

William 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.