Katy Naples-MitchellKaty Naples-Mitchell will join the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management (PCJ) as its new Program Director. Her tenure will begin September 12th. 

Katy has spent the past four years as a legal fellow and then staff attorney at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, a research and policy institute at Harvard Law School. There she cultivated expertise in how criminal law and the criminal legal system are affected by systemic racism, institutional racism, and implicit bias. She has developed policy proficiency on bail and pretrial detention; racism and policing; criminal legal system algorithms; jury empanelment and juror deliberations; parole, technical violations of parole, and parole revocation; and vectors of racial discrimination embedded in criminal law and criminal punishment. Further, one of her essential roles at the Houston Institute, which is devoted to fostering community justice, was to develop rooted relationships with people and organizations directly affected by criminalization, racism, and incarceration, both locally in Massachusetts and nationally. 

Katy graduated cum laude with Distinction in Political Science from Yale University before earning a JD from CUNY School of Law, where she was a Graduate Fellow. She has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 2020 President’s Award from the Boston Bar Association given to attorneys and legal support staff working on impact litigation to decarcerate and promote public health in jails and prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Katy will bring her unique and exceptional skill set and strong community relationships to her new role as Program Director, helping to lead the organization in its research goals; high-level, problem-solving convenings with practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and people with lived experience; and student education and training, all the while helping to nurture program development geared toward equity.

“During extraordinarily challenging times, Katy will be a game-changer for the PCJ,” said its Faculty Director, Sandra Susan Smith. “As the PCJ works toward creating a more equitable and far less harmful criminal legal system by meaningfully centering the voices of people from impacted communities and holding powerful system agencies accountable, Katy’s brilliant legal mind, deep and abiding connection to people and organizations in impacted communities, knowledge of and engagement with action-oriented and traditional research, and passion and commitment to creating safe and thriving communities for all will be essential. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”