Inimai Chettiar Joins Justice Action Network & Coalition for Public Safety As New Federal Legislative and Policy Director

Chettiar Brings Deep Expertise in Criminal Justice Reform and Building Strategic Campaigns

WASHINGTON, D.C. - National criminal justice expert Inimai Chettiar joined the Justice Action Network (JAN) and Coalition for Public Safety (CPS) as federal Legislative and Policy Director, Executive Director Holly Harris announced today. Prior to joining the Coalition, Chettiar directed the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she established the Center as a national force to end mass incarceration. Chettiar will spearhead federal legislative priorities and policy for both JAN and CPS, a key focus as the bipartisan organizations gear up for a major push to build on the progress of last year’s First Step Act and in the lead up to the 2020 election.

“Inimai is one of the leading progressive voices on ending mass incarceration. We are thrilled to welcome her to the Justice Action Network at this critical time for bipartisan criminal justice reform,” said Holly HarrisExecutive Director of Justice Action Network and the Coalition for Public Safety. “Inimai’s expertise and the credibility she has earned with lawmakers, advocates and experts across the ideological spectrum make her uniquely suited to grow the policy work that will lead to a fairer, more effective justice system, and the movement to change laws and change lives.”

“This is an extraordinary moment, in which criminal justice reform is no longer a wedge issue,“ said Inimai Chettiar. “Both the left and the right agree that we need change now. It’s time for our leaders in Washington to catch up to the states through bold initiatives. I look forward to continuing to work with elected officials on both sides of the aisle to achieve this goal.”

Chettiar brings sixteen years of legal and policy expertise in criminal law and implementing transformative reform agendas at the state and federal level. She is the editor of two books of essays by presidential candidates, and she has authored over a dozen studies on crime, incarceration, sentencing reform, and policy innovations and legislation. Her advocacy was critical to the passage of federal sentencing reform. She also launched Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, the first effort to organize police and prosecutors to join the justice reform movement. Prior to the Brennan Center, Chettiar worked at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she helped launch their nationwide state legislative program to end mass incarceration. 

Chettiar has served as a fellow at the Center for American Progress and a litigation associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. She holds a B.A. cum laude from Georgetown University and a J.D. cum laude from the University of Chicago School of Law. 

Chettiar joins a diverse team at JAN and CPS, with staff from progressive and conservative backgrounds, hailing from Oregon to Kentucky to South Carolina.