The Equitas Project’s advisors hail from across the United States and represent numerous health, justice, policy, legal, grassroots, non-governmental, governmental, and faith-based organizations. These advisors help to inform our priority intervention areas and the seamless integration between them.
Treatment Advocacy Center
Frankie Berger is the Director of Advocacy of the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), a national policy and legislative nonprofit dedicated to eliminating legal barriers to treatment for people with severe mental illness. She leads TAC’s federal and state policy agenda and works in close partnership with families, communities, and legislatures across the country to improve civil commitment laws, increase access to psychiatric beds, and decriminalize mental illness.
Ms. Berger has helped secure millions of dollars in federal funding for innovative treatment programs and has successfully advocated for provisions to help people with severe mental illness and their families in major federal mental health and criminal justice reform legislation, including the 21st Century Cures Act. Under her leadership, TAC has increased its profile as a leading national voice advocating for criminal justice diversion for people with serious mental illness.
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host of the series. The program, which is broadcast nationwide, focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma, and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association and as Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr. Borenstein is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and serves as the Chair of the Section of Psychiatry at the Academy. He has served as the President of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems. Among the many honors to his credit are the National Alliance on Mental Illness of NY State Connie Lieber Award, the American Psychiatric Association Special Presidential Commendation, and the Federation of Organizations Community Mental Health Man of the Year Award.
Amy P. Campanelli, J.D.
Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender
Amy P. Campanelli was sworn in as the tenth Public Defender of Cook County on April 1, 2015. Ms. Campanelli’s appointment was the culmination of 27 years of representing the indigent accused. Ms. Campanelli started as an Assistant Public Defender in November 1987 assigned to the Juvenile Division. Three years later she moved to the Felony Trial Division. In 1998, Ms. Campanelli temporarily left the Office, but continued to take criminal cases in private practice. Five years later, in 2003, she returned to the Office as an Attorney Supervisor assigned to the Felony Trial Division.
Ms. Campanelli became the Chief Public Defender of the Bridgeview Courthouse in 2008. She became the Capital Case Coordinator for the Office in 2010. After the death penalty was abolished in Illinois, she served as Deputy Chief of the Homicide Task Force and Deputy Chief of the Felony Trial Division. In 2012, Ms. Campanelli became the Deputy Public Defender in charge of all five Suburban districts in Cook County, a position she held until her appointment as the Public Defender.
Over the years, Ms. Campanelli has been a frequent lecturer and trainer on mental health issues, trial advocacy, trial preparation, and therapeutic courts. Working with other stakeholders, Ms. Campanelli launched the first Restorative Justice Community Court in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. She also obtained an historic order from the Chief Judge of Cook County, authorizing assistant public defenders to enter police stations to represent anyone who requests counsel. Ms. Campanelli is the second female to serve as the Public Defender.
Lisa M. Clements, Ph.D.
Beacon Health Options
Dr. Clements is the Vice President of Transformation for Beacon Health Options, Colorado. She oversees transformative programs in Colorado including programs addressing the needs of Justice Involved Individuals, Psychiatric Consultation, Integrated Care, Long Term Services and Support, Care Coordination, and Member and Family Affairs in multiple partnerships with community partners.
Dr. Clements served as the Commissioner of Behavioral Health for the State of Colorado from 2011-2016 prior to transitioning to Beacon. In this role she was the designated state entity for both Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorders. She actively participated in both State and National policy development and served on the National Association of Mental Health Directors’ Executive Committee while serving in this capacity. Dr. Clements was appointed to the National Council of State Legislators’ Justice Center Board while serving as Commissioner. In this role she participates in the national efforts of the Justice Center in developing innovative solutions for justice involved individuals. Dr. Clements also currently serves on the National Research Institute Board of Directors, where she is involved in policy development regarding services and supports for justice involved individuals at every opportunity.
Prior to her move to Colorado, Dr. Clements served the State of Missouri as the Director of Behavioral Health at Missouri’s Medicaid agency. Before that, Dr. Clements was employed by the Missouri Department of Mental Health for 17 years, where she served as the statewide Children’s Psychiatric Services Director as well as the Deputy Director of Psychiatric Services.
Ron Honberg, J.D.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Ron Honberg, J.D. serves as Senior Policy Advisor at National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Mr. Honberg oversees NAMI's federal advocacy agenda and NAMI's work on legal and criminal justice issues.
Mr. Honberg has drafted amicus curiae briefs in precedent setting litigation affecting people with mental illnesses and has provided technical assistance to attorneys and NAMI affiliates on legal and public policy issues. He serves as a frequent resource for print and broadcast media on legal and policy issues.
Before joining NAMI in 1988, Mr. Honberg worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the State of Maryland and in a variety of direct service positions in the mental illness and developmental disabilities fields.
Jackie Lacey, J.D.
Lost Angeles County District Attorney
District Attorney Jackie Lacey has spent most of her professional life as a prosecutor, manager, and executive in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. On Dec. 3, 2012, she was sworn in as the 42nd District Attorney. She was re-elected four years later without opposition.
Her top priority is keeping the streets of Los Angeles County safe from violent and dangerous criminals. She is committed to safeguarding our children from human sex traffickers, our seniors from financial elder abuse, and our communities from environmental crimes that threaten our health and our livelihood.
As founder and chair of the Criminal Justice Mental Health Project for Los Angeles County, District Attorney Lacey leads a multidisciplinary group devoted to diverting people who are mentally ill out of the criminal justice system for nonviolent offenses. Under her leadership, the group produced an award-winning report, “A Blueprint for Change,” which set priorities that include adding community-based beds to house and treat individuals with mental illness, particularly those with criminal records.
As part of that effort, District Attorney Lacey initiated an ambitious plan within her office to provide free training to first responders on how to safely de-escalate incidents involving people in a mental health crisis.
The first woman and first African-American to serve as Los Angeles County D.A. since the office was established in 1850, District Attorney Lacey leads the largest local prosecutorial office in the nation, with a workforce of approximately 1,000 lawyers, 300 investigators, and 800 support staff employees.
Judge Steven Leifman
Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida
From 2007 – 2010, Miami-Dade County Judge Steve Leifman served as Special Advisor on Criminal Justice and Mental Health for the Supreme Court of Florida. In this capacity, Judge Leifman was responsible for chairing the Court’s Mental Health Subcommittee, which authored a ground-breaking report entitled, Transforming Florida’s Mental Health System. This report outlines recommendations with the goal of decreasing inappropriate and costly involvement of people with mental illnesses in the justice system. Since 2010, Judge Leifman has chaired the Florida Supreme Court’s Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in the Court.
Due to his expertise in the areas of criminal justice and mental health, Judge Leifman has been appointed to serve in a variety of capacities on local, state, and national bodies. In recognition of his tireless efforts, Judge Leifman has received numerous awards including the 2015 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence. One of the nation’s highest judicial honors, the Rehnquist Award is presented annually to a state court judge who exemplifies judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics.
Judge Leifman has also been featured in many national and local television programs, radio programs, and articles regarding mental health and the criminal justice system
Colorado Department of Corrections
Rick Raemisch, who has decades of experience working in numerous areas of the criminal justice system, was appointed as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) by Governor John Hickenlooper in July 2013. During his time with the CDOC, Mr. Raemisch has already successfully implemented prison reforms in Colorado resulting in a safe, dramatic reduction of offenders held in administrative segregation, now less than 1% of the population, and eliminating the use of administrative segregation for offenders suffering from serious mental illness. Releasing offenders from administrative segregation directly to the community has also been eliminated.
Mr. Raemisch is recognized as a leader on prison reform and is highly sought after to participate as a subject matter expert on both the national and international level. He has testified on corrections matters before a U.S. Senate Sub-Committee involving the over use of segregation and has participated in numerous forums on corrections at prestigious universities including Yale Law School, New York University School of Law, and New York City’s John Jay College. He has also assisted, and been a member
Douglas K. Wilson, J.D.
Colorado State Public Defender System
Douglas Wilson was appointed as the Colorado State Public Defender in November 2006. Mr. Wilson was honored by the Public Defender System on two occasions for his steadfast service to his clients and his ongoing work in opposition to the death penalty. He received the prestigious David F. Vela Award in 1998 and was chosen as Attorney of the Year in 2001. Mr. Wilson also received the Jonathan Olom Award in 1999 from the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar for his dedication and continued work as a top criminal defense lawyer.
During his tenure as the Colorado State Public Defender, Mr. Wilson was awarded a certificate of completion from Harvard University for his participation in the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program in July of 2008. He currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Colorado Criminal and Juvenile Justice Commission, member of the CCJJ Pretrial Release Task Force, and member of the CCJJ Mental Health Task Force.
Mr. Wilson was appointed by the Governor of Colorado to serve on the Mental Health Hold Task Force Committee to create legislation to ensure those with mental illness in Colorado were not being held in jails during a mental health crisis.