Meg McCarthy is a freelance graphic designer, web developer, and educator. She has taught as adjunct faculty at Marlboro College Graduate School and Community College of Vermont. She became involved in criminal justice issues when her husband became incarcerated by the state of Vermont and was sent to a corporate facility in Kentucky.
Kathy Fox is an associate professor at the University of Vermont, where she teaches criminal justice courses. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her current research is about offender reintegration and restorative justice.
David Adair is a mostly retired attorney who worked with the Federal Court System where he counseled U.S. probation officers, judges, and judiciary staff on criminal law matters. He is currently Of Counsel to Blodgett, Watts, Volk & Sussman.
Robert Appel now practices law in Hinesburg, after serving 30-plus years in state government including over 11 years as executive director of the state's Human Rights Commission and over 8 years as the state's Defender General.
Currently Mimi is the supervising attorney at the Windham County Public Defender's Office, in Brattleboro, Vermont. She joined the office as a staff attorney in 2004 and became supervisor in 2009. Prior to her work in Vermont, she has spent 12 years as a public defender in New York City and another five as a public defender in western Massachusetts.
She wants to see a criminal justice system that is more rational and rehabilitation-oriented.
Robert (Bob) Lafayette currently consults for TCI as an IT Engineer and in Business Development. He is also a paralegal to the law offices of Jacob Durell Esq. Bob Lafayette was elected to the Board of Directors in September of 2017. He lives in South Burlington with his fiancée, two children and their dog Thunder.
Mairead O'Reilly is an attorney in Vermont Legal Aid's Poverty Law Project. After graduating from UConn Law School in 2016, she moved to Vermont to serve as the 5th Poverty Law Fellow.
Michael Washington graduated summa cum laude from Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts with a major in human services, addiction studies, and is a member of Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society for Social Sciences. Formerly incarcerated due to circumstances surrounding addiction, he currently provides counseling and support to persons with significant barriers to employment, primarily ex-offenders, in Bennington, Vermont.
Tom Dalton is an attorney and licensed alcohol and drug counselor. He became aware of injustice in the criminal justice system working with adolescents living with HIV/AIDS in Florida. He later became Director of HIV Services Programs at the Vermont Department of Health. In 2000, he founded Safe Recovery, a professionally-staffed, harm-reduction recovery center for people living with addiction to opioids located in Burlington, Vermont. At Safe Recovery, he started Vermont's first syringe exchange program. In 2013, he helped advocate for Vermont's Good Samaritan Law (by far the strongest in the country), and for a statutory change to permit community-based distribution of Narcan (a nasal spray used to reverse an opioid overdose in progress). In December 2013, he started Vermont's first community-based Narcan distribution site with over 850 documented overdose reversals to date. For many years, he visited Vermont correctional facilities on a weekly basis to provide HIV testing, HCV testing, harm reduction education, re-entry planning and recovery support – but also, to lend a friendly ear willing to listen to what people had to say. Tom is highly committed to making Vermont's criminal justice system work better for everyone.
Anna was born and raised in Vermont and moved out of state for ten years, during which she graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a degree in sociology and a minor in gender studies. For two years she managed a cafe in Austin, Tx. When she moved home she volunteered with Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform and was hired into a full-time position in the summer of 2016.
project director, for the sake of the children
Leigh was a program coordinator at Vermont Works for Women for 25 years working to improve the lives of women through job training and mentoring programs before retiring in 2015. She is delighted to come out of retirement to continue the essential work she began at the beginning of the century: offering programming and support to incarcerated women with the goal of providing enough skills and resources to close the revolving prison door.
She learned that much more was needed to make lasting change for the 1200 women and their 3000 minor children who entered Vermont’s correctional facility for women in 2014. Clearly, an alternative response to non-violent female offenders seemed a necessary approach to addressing the impact that over-incarceration was having on families and children.
As the project director for the “For the Sake of the Children” grant, Leigh will be working closely with VCJR’s staff, board, State agencies and non-profits, and the many formal and informal relationships VCJR has developed over the past four years.
When Suzi Wizowaty began leading book discussions and writing workshops in the jails in the 1990s, she did so as a teacher and writer who simply believed everyone deserved those opportunities. It was as she came to know inmates and learn about their lives, that it became increasingly clear that locking people up didn't help anyone. In fact, it made things worse. The criminal justice system itself imposed suffering. That had to change. Laws had to change. Therefore in 2008 she ran for the state legislature to work on criminal justice issues (and won). Public service had rewards and challenges, but criminal justice reform was slow. She observed that the general public by and large had no idea how the system actually worked--or understood that it had become the state's last-resort way of addressing poverty, drug addiction and mental illness. So, in 2013, toward the end of her third term, she founded Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform to raise public awareness in order to make greater change possible. Since that work required full-time focus, she left the legislature at the end of her third term.
Bolstered by a change in the national conversation, VCJR has succeeded in opening doors and raising awareness. There is much work to be done, but plans are in place to move the work ahead in multiple ways. In 2017, having launched a strong organization with a solid infrastructure, well-functioning board, new office and fruitful alliances, Suzi felt it was time to turn the work over to new leadership.