The Equitas Project’s advisors hail from across the United States and represent key national partners in health, justice, policy, legal, grassroots, non-governmental, governmental, and faith-based organizations, and include the strategic operational leadership of some of the nation’s principal philanthropists in mental health and justice reform. These advisors collaborate to inform our priority intervention areas, and to promote seamless integration among 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, Population Health, for Beacon Health Options, Colorado. She oversees population health and 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 participated 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, MO Health Net (MHN). 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 prior to her transition to MHN.
The Prison Fellowship
Craig DeRoche joined Prison Fellowship several years ago as the director of external affairs for the organization’s advocacy arm, Justice Fellowship. Today, DeRoche leads Prison Fellowship’s criminal justice reform efforts.
DeRoche was first introduced to Prison Fellowship while speaking at a national forum on addiction in 2011. He was the youngest statewide Republican leader in the country and was elected Michigan Speaker of the House, but in 2010, after serving a full tenure in the state legislature, DeRoche made national headlines with two alcohol-related arrests. It was only after his arrests, rehabilitation, and a renewed focus on his Christian faith that DeRoche escaped from his life-long struggle with alcoholism. He has been sober since 2010.
DeRoche’s first book, Highly Functional, released in May 2015, is a memoir of his life transitioning from addiction to recovery. DeRoche frequently pens op-eds for publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Times, and The Christian Post.
David Fathi, J.D.
The American Civil Liberties Union
David C. Fathi is Director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project, which brings challenges to conditions of confinement in prisons, jails, and other detention facilities, and works to end the policies that have given the United States the highest incarceration rate in the world. He worked as a staff lawyer at the Project for more than ten years before becoming director in 2010, and has special expertise in challenging “supermax” prisons, where prisoners are held for months or years at a time in conditions of near-total isolation. From 2012 to 2015 he represented the ACLU in negotiations leading to adoption of the United Nations Revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, known as the “Nelson Mandela Rules.”
From 2007 to 2010 Fathi was Director of the US Program at Human Rights Watch. The US Program works to defend the rights of particularly vulnerable groups in the United States, and has published groundbreaking reports on the death penalty, prison conditions, racial discrimination, the rights of immigrants, and many other human rights issues.
Fathi has lectured nationally and internationally on criminal justice issues. His op-eds have appeared in The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, and other major media outlets. He serves on the Board of Penal Reform International, a UK-based NGO that works for criminal justice reform around the world. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.
Patrick Fox, M.D.
Anthem Colorado Medicaid Program
Patrick K. Fox, M.D. is currently Medical Director for Behavioral Health Services for Anthem’s Colorado Medicaid Program. Formerly, he served as Chief Medical Officer for the Colorado Department of Human Services, Medical Director for the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health, and had served as Director for the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health. He is board-certified in Adult General and Forensic Psychiatry and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He had previously served on the Forensic Examination Committee for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
He has presented nationally and internationally on a number of topics related to forensic mental health and health policy, including: the role of mental health professionals in death penalty cases, seclusion and restraint reform, death with dignity, criminal justice health reform, and outpatient civil commitment.
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.
Terry A. Kupers, M.D., M.S.P.
The Wright Institute
Terry A. Kupers is Institute Professor Emeritus at The Wright Institute and Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. In addition to practicing general psychiatry and teaching doctoral students, he has been a community psychiatrist throughout his career. He is quite concerned about the disappearing of people with serious mental illness behind bars, the harsh conditions they suffer, their victimization and the shortcomings of the mental health treatment they receive. He provides expert testimony in class action litigation regarding the psychological effects of prison conditions including solitary confinement, the quality of correctional mental health care, and the effects of sexual abuse in correctional settings.
Dr. Kupers has testified in federal and state class action lawsuits in multiple states. He is author of Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It (Univ of California Press, 2017); Prison Madness: The Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About It (1999), and Public Therapy: The Practice of Psychotherapy in the Public Mental Health Clinic (1981). He is Contributing Editor of Correctional Mental Health Report, and among his awards is the 2005 Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Jackie Lacey, J.D.
Los 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.
Learn more about Judge Leifman's renowned Miami Model here.
Marc Levin, J.D.
Texas Public Policy Foundation
An attorney and accomplished author on legal and public policy issues, Marc began the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s (TPPF) criminal justice program in 2005. Levin later developed the Right on Crime initiative in 2010, a TPPF project in partnership with Prison Fellowship and the American Conservative Union Foundation. Right on Crime has become the national clearinghouse for conservative criminal justice reforms and has contributed to the adoption of dozens of state policies that fight crime, support victims, and protect taxpayers.
In 2014, Levin was named one of the “Politico 50” in the magazine’s annual “list of thinkers, doers, and dreamers who really matter in this age of gridlock and dysfunction.” Marc has testified on criminal justice policy on four occasions before Congress and has testified before legislatures in states including Texas, Nevada, Kansas, Wisconsin, and California. He also has met personally with leaders such as U.S. Presidents, and international lawmakers to share his ideas on criminal justice reform.
Since 2005, Marc has published dozens of policy papers on topics such as sentencing, probation, parole, reentry, and overcriminalization (available on the TPPF website). Levin's articles on law and public policy have been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Texas Review of Law & Politics, National Law Journal, and others. Marc received his J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law. He has served as a Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow, as a law clerk to Judge Will Garwood on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and as Staff Attorney at the Texas Supreme Court.
Carrie Pettus Davis, Ph.D.
Institute for Justice Research and Development
Carrie Pettus Davis, Founder and Director of the Institute for Justice Research and Development at Florida State University, is leading a major research initiative, funded by a $1 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation, to identify the most effective re-entry services for reducing recidivism. The nine-site, randomized controlled trial will involve more than 1,000 prisoners who are nearing release in urban and rural communities in Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Texas, and others still to be announced.
Safe Streets & Second Chances takes an evidence-driven approach to the chronic issues of recidivism. This initiative crafts individualized reentry approaches informed by the latest academic research to shift the outcome focus of our criminal justice system from whether individuals are punished to whether they are improved, rehabilitated, and capable of redemption.
Colorado Department of Corrections (Ret.)
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 of, the U.S. Delegation to the U.N. meetings in Cape Town and Vienna to re-write prisoner standards, now known as the Mandela Rules.
Mr. Raemisch completed his term as Colorado DOC Director at the end of 2018.
The Fortune Society
Stanley Richards is the Executive Vice President of The Fortune Society (Fortune), a 50-year-old service and advocacy non-profit organization based in New York City whose mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration. Stanley is a formerly incarcerated man of color with decades of experience in the criminal justice field.
His professional experience began in 1991 at Fortune, where he initially worked as a Counselor. Between 1997 and 2001, he served as the Deputy Director of Client Intervention at Hunter College Center on AIDS, Drugs and Community Health.
After returning to Fortune and receiving a series of promotions, today, Stanley is the second-highest executive and has responsibilities in the overall management of Fortune and oversight of all direct service programs. He also represents Fortune’s fundraising and advocacy work, having taken on a leadership role in its David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy.
Stanley was recognized by the Obama administration as a Champion of Change for his commitment to helping individuals impacted by the justice system, and also became the first formerly incarcerated person to be appointed by the City Council Speaker to the NYC Board of Correction, a regulatory oversight body for setting minimum standards of care, custody and control of people incarcerated in New York City jails. He currently serves on a number of other committees and boards as well, including his appointment to the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform chaired by former NYS Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, which created and released a blueprint, “A More Just New York City”, for the future of criminal justice in New York City; his appointment by Mayor de Blasio as Co-Chair of the Working Group on Design, a subcommittee of the Implementation Task Force, to ensure effective implementation of the “Smaller, Safer, Fairer: A Roadmap to Closing Rikers Island” initiative.
Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice
Cheryl Roberts, Esq., is Executive Director of the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice, a nonprofit organization working to decriminalize mental illness. Roberts is a licensed bond agent in New York State, a former local judge from Columbia County, New York, and served as Corporation Counsel for the City of Hudson, New York. Earlier in her career she practiced environmental and land use law and served as a counsel to committees in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Ms. Roberts has been a speech writer and lobbyist and most recently served as Corporation Counsel for the City of Hudson, New York.
The Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice advocates for reforms to the criminal justice system. They believe the criminal justice system should focus on rehabilitation and not only punishment. Laws should protect society, not penalize poverty, mental illness or underlying substance abuse. Judges must have the ability to fashion sentences that do justice while preserving human dignity and the potential for reentry, and include alternatives to incarceration.
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 served 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. Douglas Wilson retired from his position as Colorado State Public Defender in July, 2018.