• Alexander Robinson

    Alexander Robinson, JD, is an Attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He currently practices in the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from Jackson State University, a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan, and a law degree from the University of Chicago. Alexander’s pro bono practice has included impact litigation, supporting immigration services for indigent youth and developing affordable housing initiatives in Los Angeles.

  • Dawn Davison Treasurer

    Dawn Davison, MS, is the first prison official to join JDI’s Board, and currently serves as Treasurer. As former Warden of the California Institution for Women, she placed herself within the vanguard of reform-minded corrections managers by allowing JDI and the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center to bring counselors into the prison to speak confidentially with sexual abuse survivors. As Warden, she instituted many rehabilitative programs and worked with volunteer groups, emphasizing education, life and workplace skills, the maintenance of family and community relationships, successful reintegration into society, and breaking the intergenerational cycle of incarceration. Since her retirement in 2009, Dawn has remained an active consultant and activist for inmates’ rights, through her work with JDI and the USC Gould School of Law Post-Conviction Justice Project. She is a member of two other non-profit boards

  • Deborah Colson

    Deborah Colson is a criminal defense lawyer in New York City. Previously, she served as an Assistant Federal Defender in the Eastern District of New York and as the Acting Director of the Law & Security Program at Human Rights First. Deborah holds a BA in History from Wesleyan University and a JD from Harvard Law School. She clerked for the Honorable Nina Gershon of the Eastern District of New York.

  • Deirdre von Dornum

    Deirdre von Dornum, Esq., is the Attorney-in-Charge of the Eastern District of New York, having previously served as the Deputy Attorney-in-Charge of the Eastern District and a trial attorney in the Southern and Eastern District offices. She is the former Assistant Dean for Public Service at NYU School of Law, where she taught the Federal Defender Clinic. Deirdre holds a BA in Classics from UCLA, an MA in Classics from Princeton University, and a JD from Columbia Law School, where she served as an editor of the Columbia Law Review. She clerked for the Honorable Anita B. Brody of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to joining the Federal Defenders in 2002, Deirdre was an associate at the law firm WilmerHale and engaged in pro bono death penalty litigation with the Capital Defenders of New York.

  • Haim Pekelis

    Haim Pekelis, JD, is a Vice-President and Wealth Manager at Morgan Stanley. He is a US Army veteran and a graduate of Brown University and the Defense Language Institute (WC). While working in financial services, he went to Loyola Law School at night and is currently an inactive member of the California Bar. Haim previously worked in the motion picture industry, in production, editing, and as a writer.

  • Hector Villagra

    Hector Villagra, JD, has been Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) since February 2011. He launched the Orange County Office of the ACLU SoCal in September 2005 and served as its Director until October 2009, when he became Legal Director for the ACLU SoCal. Before joining the ACLU, he served as Regional Counsel for the Los Angeles Regional Office of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) from 2001 to 2005 and as a staff attorney at MALDEF from 1999 to 2001. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Columbia University and a JD from Columbia Law School. After law school, he clerked for Chief Justice Robert Wilentz of the New Jersey Supreme Court and Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Hector currently serves on the boards of Just Detention International and the California Immigrant Policy Center.

  • Hussein Khalifa

    Hussein Khalifa is a founding partner at MVision, a private equity advisory firm based in New York, London, and Hong Kong. Previously, he served as the founding director and chief executive of Archstone Capital. Hussein is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and is on the Advisory Boards of the RAND Corporation’s Centre for Global Risk and Security, NOOR Theatre, and the Middlebury Museum & Visual Arts Council. Hussein graduated with honors from Middlebury College and is a Georgetown Leadership Seminar alumnus. He is proficient in French, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), and Spanish.

  • John W. Johnson

    John W. Johnson is a Chief at the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department and is the Immediate Past President of the American Jail Association. A 22-year corrections veteran, he worked at MDCR as a Correctional Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain prior to becoming a Chief. Additionally, he has served as a consultant for the National Institute of Justice and the National Institute of Corrections. He is also a candidate for a Doctor of Philosophy that focuses on Public-Safety Leadership.

  • Kate Summers

    Kate Summers is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She worked for many years at a Los Angeles County outpatient mental health clinic, and later did mental health assessments in the county’s jails for the ACLU. For several years she has served as a Buddhist chaplain in the county’s women’s jail, and is a long-time member of the ACLU of Southern California’s Foundation Board.

  • Linda McFarlane Secretary

    Linda McFarlane, MSW, LCSW, is the Executive Director and Board Secretary of JDI. Linda manages all of JDI’s work, in the U.S. and internationally, and serves as the organization’s primary spokesperson. A licensed social worker, Linda has more than 30 years of experience working with survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. Previously, Linda served as JDI’s Deputy Executive Director. In that role, she trained corrections officials, medical and mental health practitioners, and direct service providers in preventing and responding to sexual violence behind bars. She also worked with corrections agencies on implementing programs to make their facilities safer. Before joining JDI in 2005, Linda worked in community rape crisis programs, foster care, and with adults with mental illness. She also worked as a staff member, unit supervisor, and therapist in a detention facility for girls with mental illness.

  • Melinda Eades LeMoine

    Melinda Eades LeMoine, Esq., is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson, where her practice focuses on complex business litigation for companies in the media and entertainment industries. Before joining the firm, Melinda served as a law clerk to the Honorable Susan P. Graber on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A graduate of Columbia University’s Barnard College and Brooklyn Law School, Melinda has devoted many hours of her practice to pro bono work. For several years, she was counsel with primary responsibility for the state post-conviction efforts on behalf of a prisoner on death row in Nevada, and more recently has contributed to the firm’s work on behalf of a capital prisoner in Louisiana. She also served for several years on the board of directors for the Action Committee for Women in Prison, a nonprofit organization.

  • Michael Amherst

    Michael Amherst is a writer based in London. His book Go the Way Your Blood Beats, a meditation on truth, bisexuality, and desire, won the 2019 Israel Fishman Stonewall Award for Nonfiction. An essay on chronic illness, “Does a Silhouette Have a Shadow?,” is published in the anthology On Bodies. His short fiction has appeared in publications including The White Review and Contrappasso and been longlisted for BBC Opening Lines and Bath Short Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. He has campaigned on the issue of sexual abuse in UK prisons and in 2014 served as JDI’s UK Program Director. Between 2012-2014, he was a Commissioner on the Howard League’s Commission on Sex in Prisons, the first such project ever undertaken in the UK. Michael’s work on sex in prison has been published in The Guardian, New Statesman, and Attitude magazine. He is a grant award winner from Arts Council England and the Society of Authors.

  • Russell Robinson Chairperson

    Russell Robinson, JD, is a Professor, UC Berkeley School of Law. He graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and received his B.A. from Hampton University. Russell clerked for Judge Dorothy Nelson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (1998-99) and for Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court (2000-01). Before joining the faculty of UC Berkeley in 2011, Russell was a professor at UCLA School of Law. Russell’s scholarly interests include antidiscrimination law, race and sexuality, law and psychology, constitutional law, and media and entertainment law. His publications include an article examining a segregated unit for gay male and male-to-female transgender inmates at Los Angeles County Men’s Jail.

  • Stephanie Walker

    Stephanie Walker is a prisoners’ rights advocate and the founder of #Iamnolongersilent, which aims to promote survivor voices. While incarcerated at a prison in Georgia, Stephanie was sexually assaulted repeatedly by a corrections officer. Upon her release, Stephanie reported her attacker and participated in his prosecution, which led to his conviction. A member of JDI’s Survivor Council, Stephanie has shared her story with the press and advocates.