The TCJC Team

Leah Pinney

Executive Director

lpinney@TexasCJC.org

Leah Pinney is Executive Director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. She joined TCJC in 2007 as a youth justice researcher to push for stronger oversight at the Texas Youth Commission. With her help, TCJC advocated for the implementation of agency programs and procedures that would reduce staff use of force, including the indiscriminate use of pepper spray against kids in facilities. Leah later worked to advance the rights of indigent defendants, especially the right to counsel, through increased state funding and the expansion of model programs, including the Harris County Public Defender's Office. From 2008 to 2015, Leah was in charge of TCJC’s operations, overseeing its organizational development and resource management. Prior to TCJC, Leah worked with the ACLU of Texas, where she drafted a report about the problems related to the use of confidential informants, particularly by racially biased drug task forces across Texas. She graduated summa cum laude from St. Edward’s University, where she earned a B.A. in political science. As Executive Director, Leah spearheads strategic planning based on the organizational vision and mission, and develops the parameters for achieving multi-year goals, while ensuring a process and structure to achieve success.

Molly Totman, J.D.

Deputy Director

mtotman@TexasCJC.org

Molly Totman is Deputy Director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. Ms. Totman has spent the bulk of her career at TCJC, which she joined in 2003, immediately after receiving her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Molly's first position at TCJC was as Public Safety Director. In that role, she built the sole state repository on racial profiling by Texas’ law enforcement agencies. The four reports on racial profiling that she produced for TCJC between 2004 and 2008 shed light on discriminatory law enforcement policies and resulted in changes in the state’s collection of data regarding the prevalence of traffic stops and searches. As Deputy Director, Molly remains TCJC’s senior editor and researcher, while leading its foundation fundraising.

Lindsey Linder, J.D.

Senior Policy Attorney

llinder@TexasCJC.org

Lindsey Linder received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2013, and she went on to receive her Juris Doctorate with honors from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2016.  Lindsey has been continually active in community service and volunteerism.  In 2011, she was awarded first place in a national fundraising campaign, which resulted in an opportunity for her to visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and it was this experience that sparked her passion for legal advocacy.  Lindsey utilized her position of leadership as President of Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity to organize local fundraising, community service, and advocacy efforts.  During summer 2014, Lindsey interned with UNICEF in Tel Aviv, Israel, drafting a report on Israel’s implementation of the UN treaty Convention on the Rights of the Child to be submitted to the New York and Geneva United Nations headquarters for review.  Through Senator Rodney Ellis’ Texas Legislative Internship Program, Lindsey spent the 84th Legislative Session as a Policy Associate with TCJC and continued to support TCJC while completing law school.  Upon graduation, Lindsey officially joined the TCJC team to support the organization's policy research and outreach efforts, and she continues to create positive change through policy work and advocacy.

Douglas Smith, M.S.S.W.

Senior Policy Analyst

dsmith@TexasCJC.org

Doug Smith is the Senior Policy Analyst with TCJC, where he develops policies to reduce Texas’ over-reliance on incarceration and improve conditions of confinement and reentry for people leaving prison. He also serves as an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, teaching Advanced Policy. Doug graduated magna cum laude from St. Edward’s University in 1994 and earned his M.S.S.W. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000. He previously served as a Policy Analyst in the Texas House of Representatives’ Committee on Human Services, as well as a Legislative Director for a member of the House. Doug’s passion for criminal justice reform stems from his own experience in the criminal justice system, where he served six years in prison for crimes committed as a direct outcome of addiction. In addition to his state-level advocacy work with TCJC, Doug is a member of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Reentry Task Force, and he serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Austin Sobriety Center.

Allison Franklin

Allison Franklin

Peer Policy Fellow

afranklin@TexasCJC.org

Allison Franklin is a passionate and dedicated Survivor Leader. She has extensive experience advocating for survivors of all forms of sexual exploitation, and for solutions to systemic practices that fuel oppression and stigma. Allison is an accomplished speaker, addressing sex trafficking and sexual exploitation accompanied by drug abuse, mental health, and intersections with the criminal justice system. She brings her own lived experienced of trauma, mental health, and incarceration to TCJC, with a special focus on changing the narrative for those involved in the criminal justice system. Allison serves as the 2018-2020 Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Peer Policy Fellow for TCJC, and she is working toward her undergraduate degree in Communications at the University of Texas.

Jose Flores

Policy Analyst

jflores@TexasCJC.org

Jose Flores serves as TCJC’s Youth Justice Policy Analyst, bringing his own lived experiences to the position. Jose was incarcerated for 13 years, eight of those in solitary confinement, and he is in recovery from substance use. He is a strong advocate for justice system-involved youth, having long worked in the substance abuse and mental health fields. Jose is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional, and Community Health Worker; most recently, he was an instructor teaching DWI Intervention and Education courses. Jose is a graduate of the University of Texas A&M-San Antonio, where he earned a B.A.A.S in Social Sciences, and he is currently working towards a graduate degree in mental health counseling.

Jemima Abalogu

Policy Associate

jabalogu@TexasCJC.org

Jemima Abalogu is a senior at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, where she serves on the theatre department’s Executive Board as the Social Event Coordinator, handling student interaction and aiding in fundraising efforts. She also serves her community as a founder and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 72 in Scouts BSA (the first all-female troop in the Westlake and Bee Cave areas). In 2017, she was awarded first place in the Equal Justice Initiative’s Racial and Economic Injustice essay contest for her original work, “We Cannot Forget: A Continuation of Police Brutality Against Black Youth.” Additionally, Jemima was one of 52 students selected nationally to attend the Telluride Association’s Sophomore Seminar at Cornell University, studying the concept and role that race plays in our society. She hopes to study political science and social policy in college and ultimately earn her J.D. As a Policy Associate at TCJC, Jemima is researching the ill effects of zero-tolerance policies in schools and the benefits of implementing restorative justice programs.

Ashlyn Branscum

Policy Associate

abranscum@TexasCJC.org

Ashlyn Branscum is a senior at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in social work after graduation. She currently serves as a substitute teacher at a Montessori school and enjoys working with toddlers. Ashlyn is a Policy Associate with TCJC and is interested in identifying solutions that will make Texas’ criminal justice system more restorative and redemptive.

 

 

Myrick Clark

Policy Associate

mclark@TexasCJC.org

Myrick Clark is pursuing her Master of Social Work at Texas State University. While attending college at North Carolina State University, she developed a passion for reducing recidivism among African American men and working with at-risk youth. Myrick worked with the Capital Area Teen Court in Raleigh, North Carolina, as an intern, and also joined AmeriCorps with Communities in Schools in Austin, Texas, working with at-risk youth. She went on to work with Goodwill Central Texas’ Reentry Services and serves as the Program Services Supervisor for the Reentry team. Myrick is a Policy Associate with TCJC and is focusing on occupational licensing and reentry.

Isaiah Martinez

Policy Associate

imartinez@TexasCJC.org

Isaiah Martinez is a sophomore at Yale University and a prospective Global Affairs major. He serves as the marketing chair for Sube, Yale’s Latinx professional development group, and is a member of MEChA de Yale, a Latinx activist group on campus. He also volunteers as an Advising Fellow for Matriculate, a national, non-profit organization aimed at identifying and helping low-income/low-opportunity students matriculate to the nation’s best colleges. As someone who is committed to uplifting the communities around him, Isaiah is extremely passionate about his work as a Policy Associate with the Youth Justice policy team at TCJC.

Marissa Shevins

Policy Associate

mshevins@TexasCJC.org

Marissa Shevins is a third-year law student at Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans. She served as a legal intern on the Unanimous Jury Coalition campaign, which successfully amended the Louisiana Constitution in the 2018 midterm elections to require unanimous juries for criminal convictions in felony cases. Through the Loyola Law School Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice, as well as Tulane Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Practicum, Marissa collaborated with students to represent non-citizens seeking humanitarian protections. Marissa is a summer Policy Associate with TCJC working on women’s justice. She hopes to pursue a career in policy reform, advocacy, and public interest law work to promote human rights.

Megan Sissom

Policy Associate

msissom@TexasCJC.org

Megan Sissom is pursuing a Master of Social Work at Texas State University. She has experience working in the child welfare system, in community-based and residential crisis services, and with persons with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD). Megan is a Policy Associate with TCJC and is primarily focusing on the intersect between the I/DD population and the criminal justice system.

 

 

Jay Jenkins, J.D.

Harris County Project Attorney

jjenkins@TexasCJC.org

Jay Jenkins graduated from Wake Forest University in 2005, earning a B.A. in Biology and Classical Languages. He received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 2009. While at Northwestern, he worked at the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Children and Family Justice Center, focusing on a number of juvenile justice issues. In his third year, Jay was the lone law student at the newly formed Juvenile Post-Dispositional Clinic, where he promoted policy reform throughout Chicago while also advocating on behalf of juvenile clients.  After graduating in 2009, Jay was admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois and worked as a civil litigator in the private sector for three years. Most recently, Jay worked in Washington, D.C., for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, assisting the United States Department of Justice in its evaluation of claims and implementation of legislation passed in 2010.  Jay serves as TCJC's Project Attorney in Harris County (Houston), where he continues TCJC's efforts to support the work of the local Public Defender’s Office while assisting TCJC in promoting broader criminal and juvenile justice reforms throughout that county.

Madison Kaigh

Communications Manager

mkaigh@TexasCJC.org

Madison Kaigh received her B.A. from Georgetown University, where she studied Government and English. A Texas transplant by way of D.C. and Alaska, she brings experience from EMILY’s List, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the U.S. House of Representatives, and more to her communications and digital work at TCJC. She most recently served as Communications Director on a Central Texas congressional campaign, where she spearheaded written communications, press outreach, and social media. Her family history of system involvement and criminal justice work have informed her passion for elevating unique voices and representing underserved communities. As Communications Manager, she hopes to use storytelling to help TCJC and allies defeat stigmas and positively impact the narrative around system involvement.

Holly Jarmon

Executive Assistant

hjarmon@TexasCJC.org

Holly Jarmon is a graduate of the University of North Texas, where she earned her B.A. in Radio, Television, and Film with honors.  She brings eight years of administrative experience to TCJC, along with a spirit to help others. Holly enjoys learning about social issues, writing, filmmaking, art, and how they are inter-connected.