The TCJC Team

Jemima Abalogu

Youth Justice Ambassador

jabalogu@TexasCJC.org

Jemima Abalogu is a senior at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. She 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 Juris Doctor. 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.

 

Alycia Castillo

Policy Consultant

acastillo@TexasCJC.org

Alycia Castillo is a Policy Consultant with TCJC, supporting the organization’s youth justice efforts. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work at Texas State University, where she conducted research to find evidence-based solutions to problems facing marginalized populations. Alycia uses her social work background to provide trauma-informed perspectives to existing environments. Her background in teaching and education management also provide her a holistic view of the intersecting factors that lead to system involvement.

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.

Holly Jarmon

Executive Assistant

hjarmon@TexasCJC.org

Holly Jarmon is a graduate of the University of North Texas, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts 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.

 

 

Jay Jenkins, J.D.

Harris County Project Attorney

jjenkins@TexasCJC.org

Jay Jenkins is the Harris County Project Attorney at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. Since joining TCJC in 2014, he has promoted broad youth and adult justice reforms in Houston and the surrounding areas. Jay received his Juris Doctor 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 youth 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. Jay was admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois and worked as a civil litigator in the private sector for three years. He went on to work 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. At TCJC, Jay has researched and pursued reforms related to over-policing and prosecution, while also reimagining the local bail system and supporting indigent defense, and he was instrumental in the development of a first-of-its-kind data dashboard that visualizes nearly one million criminal case outcomes in Harris and Dallas Counties.

Madison Kaigh

Communications Manager

mkaigh@TexasCJC.org

Madison Kaigh is Communications Manager at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, having joined the organization in spring 2019. A Texas transplant by way of Washington, 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. Madison’s family history of justice system involvement and justice-related work have informed her passion for elevating unique voices and representing underserved communities. She hopes to use storytelling to help TCJC and allies defeat stigmas and positively impact the narrative around system involvement. Madison received her Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University, where she studied Government and English.

Lindsey Linder, J.D.

Senior Policy Attorney

llinder@TexasCJC.org

Lindsey Linder is Senior Policy Attorney for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, focusing primarily on youth and women’s justice. She joined TCJC during the state’s 84th Legislative Session in 2015 as a member of Senator Rodney Ellis’ Texas Legislative Internship Program, and she continued to support TCJC while completing law school, receiving her Juris Doctor with honors from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2016. Lindsey has long been 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. At TCJC, Lindsey continues to create positive change through policy work and advocacy.

Justin Martinez

Policy Associate

jmartinez@TexasCJC.org

Justin Martinez is pursuing his Master of Arts in Legal Studies, with a Paralegal Certification, at Texas State University. During his time in the educational field, he advocated for the arts and their importance in the overall approach to a child’s education. Justin is a Policy Associate at TCJC, where he is focusing on addressing the devastating impacts of de facto life sentences on youth.

 

 

Melissa McCargar

Policy Associate

mmccargar@TexasCJC.org

Melissa McCargar is pursuing a Masters of Social Work at Texas State University, where she will graduate summa cum laude. She worked for over 15 years in health care administration and also brings lived experience and family history in both the youth and adult justice systems. Melissa is a Policy Associate at TCJC, where she focuses on the impact of incarceration on women and families, and the implications of arrest for possession of a controlled substance.

 

 

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 Bachelor of Arts 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.

Hannah Singley

Policy Associate

hsingley@TexasCJC.org

Hannah Singley is currently studying Psychology at St. Edward’s University, with a concentration in forensic psychology and pre-law. She previously clerked for a criminal defense attorney, where the mitigation letters she wrote for clients facing life or capital punishment often led to their sentences being capped and their charges reduced. Hannah also works with survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and volunteers with programs like Adopt an Inmate and the Inside Books Project. Hannah is a Policy Associate at TCJC, where she is updating the organization’s extensive county-based data sheets with information about community alternatives to incarceration and county-level statistics for each of Texas’ 254 counties.

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.

 

 

Douglas Smith, M.S.S.W.

Senior Policy Analyst

dsmith@TexasCJC.org

Doug Smith is Senior Policy Analyst for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. Since joining TCJC in 2015, he has developed policies to reduce Texas’ over-reliance on incarceration and improve conditions of confinement and reentry for people leaving prison. 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. He is also 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 Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000.

Ja'Juan Smith

Policy Associate

jsmith@TexasCJC.org

Ja’Juan Smith is pursuing a Masters of Social Work at Texas State University. He has experience working directly with youth, parents, and service providers to help build life skills, enhance youth engagement in the community, and develop healthy life choices. Ja’Juan is a Policy Associate at TCJC and is focusing on Texas’ Law of Parties

 

 

Kayla Sohns

Policy Associate

ksohns@TexasCJC.org

Kayla Sohns is pursuing a Masters of Social Work at Texas State University. She has experience in policy and advocacy through her time as an intern with the National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter, as well as organizational policy through her time as a Graduate Assistant with the Department of Housing and Residential Life at Texas State University. Kayla is a Policy Associate at TCJC, where she primarily focuses on pre-arrest diversion.

 

Leon Theodore

Dallas County Justice Project Advocate

ltheodore@TexasCJC.org

Leon Theodore is the Dallas County Justice Project Advocate at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, having joined the organization in fall 2019. He has been active in the reentry field since 2006, and he has done extensive volunteer work in Orlando, Florida, where he established his own nonprofit organization after recognizing the lack of services for people struggling with sexual addiction. Leon's passion for reentry, as well as social and employment development, stems from his own experience with the criminal justice system and the stigma attached to people returning from incarceration. He is a proponent of youth diversion programs, especially as it relates to minorities and the education system. Leon is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at Texas A&M-Commerce and, in the future, he plans to pursue a Doctorate of Social Work, focusing specifically on minority students and the intersection of self-esteem and perceived potential. 

Molly Totman, J.D.

Deputy Director

mtotman@TexasCJC.org

Molly Totman is Deputy Director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. Molly 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.