CJII is led by District Attorney Vance’s executive team, and staffed by CUNY ISLG.




  • Marc Shaw
    Chair, ISLG Advisory Board
    Marc Shaw is Senior Advisor to CUNY’s Chancellor for Fiscal Policy, following four years (2010-2014) in which he served as Senior Vice Chancellor for Budget, Finance and Fiscal Policy. Prior to this, in 2009, he served as a Senior Advisor to Governor David Paterson. Before that, he was Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning at Extell Development Co. From 2002 to 2006, he was the First Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Operations to Mayor Bloomberg. As First Deputy Mayor, Mr. Shaw served as the Chief Operating Officer for the City and as acting mayor whenever the mayor was out of town. In 1996, he was appointed by Gov. George Pataki to serve as the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Mr. Shaw also served as the Budget Director for the New York City Office of Management and Budget under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, responsible for developing the mayor’s executive budget and advising the mayor on all policy issues affecting the City’s fiscal stability and the effectiveness of its services. He was also responsible for the City’s four-year financial plans and its capital budget. He graduated magna cum laude from the State University College at Buffalo and received his MA degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

  • Michael Jacobson
    Executive Director, CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance
    Prior to joining CUNY in May 2013 to help create the Institute for State and Local Governance, Michael Jacobson was president of the Vera Institute of Justice, serving from 2005 to 2013. He is the author of Downsizing Prisons: How to Reduce Crime and End Mass Incarceration (New York University Press 2005). Holding a Ph.D. in sociology, he has had an ongoing academic career coupled with more than 20 years of government service. From 1998 to 2005 he was a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center of CUNY. He was New York City correction commissioner from 1995 to 1998, New York City probation commissioner from 1992 to 1996, and worked in the New York City Office of Management and Budget from 1984 to 1992 where he was a deputy budget director. In 2010 to 2012, Michael served as the chair of Altus, a global alliance working across continents and from a multicultural perspective to improve public safety and justice.

  • Siobhán Carney
    Policy Director, CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance
    Siobhán Carney works closely with the ISLG executive director to ensure that all initiatives and activities are consistent with the Institute’s mission, policies and current strategic plan. In addition, Siobhán leads all work in the area of performance and project management, oversees external relationships, and is responsible for building a team to effectively deliver technical assistance and executive development and for designing fellowship, visiting scholar, affiliate faculty programs. Prior to joining the Institute, she served as chief of staff and acting research director at the Vera Institute of Justice where she managed Vera’s research department and designed a performance levels system to inform staff development and promotion practices. She has also lectured on rural development and served as a consultant to the nonprofit sector in Ireland, as an evaluator for projects funded under the Peace and Reconciliation Program for Northern Ireland and the European Union LEADER program. She holds an M.A. in spatial analysis, a post-graduate diploma in education and a Ph.D. in geography from Trinity College.

  • Alison Dieguez
    Senior Policy Associate, CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance
    Alison Dieguez coordinates the Community Navigator project and Abusive Partner Intervention Program within the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. She has more than 10 years of experience working with survivors of violence and crime, immigrants, and members of marginalized communities. Prior to working at ISLG, she was the director of planning and community resilience at the Center for Court Innovation (CCI)’s Red Hook Community Justice Center. While at CCI, Alison developed, launched, and managed several court and community programs. Her portfolio at CCI included CARES, a trauma-informed victim service program, the Red Hook Responders, an outreach & case management program focusing on building community resilience, and the Housing Resource Center, which assisted public housing tenants who were involved with Red Hook’s Housing Court. She additionally led broader efforts in the areas of strategic planning, fundraising, and data management. Prior to this, Alison worked within the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Bureau of Mental Health and at Safe Horizon’s Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center. In this latter position, Alison participated in the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of allegations of severe physical and sexual abuse of children. Alison holds a B.A. from Purchase College at SUNY and an M.S.W. from Columbia University School of Social Work.
  • Alexandra Frosh
    Policy Associate
    Alexandra (“Lexie”) Frosh supports the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative and special projects under ISLG’s policy director. Prior to joining ISLG, Lexie served as the development and communications manager for the Reset Foundation in its pilot phase to open an education-focused residential alternative to incarceration for young adults in the San Francisco Bay Area. While in Oakland, she produced news reports for California’s KPFA Pacifica Radio—with segments covering such topics as the 2015 FCC decision to cap the rates of interstate and intrastate phone calls from prison. Lexie was previously a research assistant for the president/CEO of Living Cities, focusing on K-12 and post-secondary education reform. She holds a B.A. in sociology from Stanford University.
  • Myrtho Gardiner
    Senior Policy Associate
    Myrtho works with the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative managing the Family and Youth Development and Foster Youth Transitioning to Adulthood initiatives. Myrtho came to ISLG from the Department of Veterans Affairs where he worked as the veterans justice outreach coordinator helping justice-involved veterans navigate through the legal system.  Prior to this he worked at the psychiatric ward at the VA assisting veterans with pervasive mental health and substance abuse problems. He is currently a doctoral student in the Social Welfare program at the CUNY Graduate School. He received his master’s degree from Smith College School for Social Work and his bachelor’s degree from Loyola University in Maryland. Myrtho also has a certificate in trauma and recovery from the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. He is an adjunct lecturer at the Silberman School of Social Work and Columbia University School of Social Work. He is a community oriented clinical social worker in private practice, serves on the board of the Association of Black Social Workers, New York City chapter, and as a mental health consultant for CapraCare, Haiti, a community health program based in Fonfrede, Haiti.
  • Evan Goldstein
    Policy Associate
    Evan Goldstein supports the planning and implementation of diversion and reentry initiatives within the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. Previously, Evan worked at the Drug Policy Alliance where he promoted drug policy reform in New York State through research and advocacy. As a policy coordinator at DPA he supported and managed several projects, including the passage and implementation of the 911 Good Samaritan Law and state and local marijuana arrest reform campaigns. Evan has held internships at the Open Society Foundations where he focused on international and domestic drug and health policy issues and the Legal Aid Society where he provided support to indigent defense lawyers. Evan holds a Master in Public Affairs degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a B.A. from New York University.
  • Karen Goldstein
    Counsel to ISLG Executive Director
    Prior to joining the Institute, Karen Goldstein was vice president and general counsel of the Vera Institute of Justice, serving between 2000 and 2015. In addition to her legal responsibilities, Karen supervised Vera’s large scale demonstration projects, managed its fiscal sponsorship program, created new not-for-profit organizations from existing programs, and authored Vera’s Spin-off Tool Kit (2007). She also served as Vera’s interim executive director during 2013. While at Vera, Karen served on the board of Altus, a global alliance working across continents and from a multicultural perspective to improve public safety and justice. In addition, she has had more than a dozen years of government service. She worked as general counsel to New York City’s Department of Homeless Services from 1994 to 2000 and in New York City’s Human Resources Administration, first as associate, then as deputy general counsel, from 1986 to 1990. Between 1990 and 1992, she worked at New York State’s Office of Court Administration, assisting the administrative judge to the Family Courts in the five boroughs of New York City. Karen began her legal career at the Legal Aid Society, first as a trial attorney in the Juvenile Rights Division and then as a supervising attorney in the Criminal Appeals Bureau.
  • Patrick Hart
    Program Director
    Patrick Hart coordinates the Youth Opportunity Hub project within the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. His areas of expertise include improving outcomes for disconnected youth, community-based anti-poverty strategies, and workforce development. Previously, Patrick worked at the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) within the Mayor’s Office of Operations. At CEO, Patrick coordinated three programs being implemented by nonprofit providers in New York and several partner cities as part of a federal Social Innovation Fund grant. Patrick’s programs at CEO included Project Rise, a cohort-based education and employment initiative for disconnected youth; Jobs-Plus, a public housing-focused employment program; and WorkAdvance, a sector-focused job training, placement, and advancement strategy. Prior to CEO, Patrick’s work included work on affordable housing policy and programming at the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Patrick holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School.
  • Caroline Hugh
    Research Associate
    Caroline Hugh leads performance measurement under the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative’s youth, families, & communities focus area, working with grantees to develop metrics and analyze and synthesize performance data. Caroline earned her Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology with a certificate in social determinants of health from Columbia University. Her thesis explored how socioeconomic status operates on anger and distress among people incarcerated in state and federal prisons. Previously, she has held internships at Correctional Health Services where she helped research HIV prevalence and substance use, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene where she examined criminal justice referral to drug treatment, and Justice Now where she supported women in prison through advocacy and education. Caroline received her B.S. in biology and society from Cornell University.


  • Nicole McCullough
    Policy Associate
    Nicole McCullough works within the Enhancing Effectiveness Across Systems and Victims of Crime portfolios for the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. Her areas of expertise include behavioral health, children and family services, and crime victims advocacy. Prior to joining ISLG, Nicole served as both policy and training coordinator & domestic violence response team coordinator within the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV). At OCDV, Nicole engaged in policy analyses, provided technical assistance, and training to more than 7,000 NYC agency employees and community providers dedicated to helping survivors of intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and sex trafficking. She also coordinated a multi-disciplinary team of rapid responders, which provided services to victims who were at risk of lethality or serious re-assault. Nicole received advanced training in motivational interviewing, harm reduction, and applied suicide intervention skills as a crisis counselor and referral specialist with New York State’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and the Mental Health Association of NYC. She received her M.S.W. from New York University; her B.A. in communications from the University of the Pacific, and holds an Advanced Certification in Trauma Informed Care from New York University’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research.
  • Alessandra Meyer
    Program Director
    Alessandra Meyer works with ISLG’s policy team. Before joining ISLG, she was a senior program associate at the Vera Institute of Justice where she provided technical assistance to state and local government agencies and youth-serving nonprofit organizations on a number of juvenile justice reform initiatives. Her projects at Vera included Youth Futures, a multi-site initiative to improve the labor market and education prospects of youth involved in  juvenile justice, and the Status Offense Reform Center, an online resource center designed to help jurisdictions respond to youth who commit status offenses outside of the court system. Previously Alessandra produced documentaries for Charlotte Street Films, including The House I Live In, an examination of the U.S. war on drugs, and Why We Fight. Alessandra holds an M.P.A. and M.S.W. from Columbia University and a B.A. from New York University.

  • Neal Palmer
    Senior Research Associate
    Neal Palmer is a community researcher and community psychologist with experience in primary and evaluation research. Neal works closely with the ISLG research director to advance the Institute’s research and mission. Prior to joining ISLG, he was a senior research associate at GLSEN, a national organization addressing LGBT issues in education. While there, he advanced the organization’s work on school discipline and justice system involvement, discrimination, local climate assessment, online resources and supports, and rural contexts. He also conducted mixed-methods evaluations of the organization’s programs and initiatives. Neal was instrumental in developing the organization’s international technical expertise and research capacity. He has provided technical assistance to a variety of foundations, government agencies, and other organizations focused on youth, education, and anti-violence. He has also taught courses in social science research methods. He holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in community research and action from Vanderbilt University.
  • Kristen Parsons
    Research Analyst
    Kristen Parsons is a member of ISLG’s research team and contributes to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. Throughout her graduate education, Kristen has designed surveys, collected data, and performed descriptive as well as inferential statistical analyses on various criminal justice topics. For example, she developed several surveys to gauge the public’s perception of marijuana usage depending on the method of administration. Kristen holds a B.S. in criminal justice from Marist College and an M.S. in criminal justice from Roger Williams University. Her research interests include reentry and diversion; drug policy; eyewitness (mis)identification; the relationship between combat sports and aggression; and violence against women.
  • Herbert Regnier
    Policy Associate
    Herbert joins ISLG most recently from the Fortune Society, where he was director of educational services. In that role, he oversaw high school equivalency (HSE) and pre-HSE classes for formerly incarcerated individuals and also maintained external relationships for the program. Prior to Fortune, Herbert managed education and workforce development programs at the NYC Department of Education and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, particularly the Urban Ambassador program, which seeks to build the capacity of young men of color to combat the academic, social, and psychological challenges associated with student achievement and college aspirations. Herbert is a native New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn, whose parent emigrated from Haiti. Hebert received his bachelor degree from The New School, where he also did his graduate studies in global finance, and is a certified mentoring supervisor from Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York.
  • Monica San Juan
    Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Aide to the ISLG Executive Director
    Monica San Juan is responsible for the overall administrative operations of ISLG including human resources, facilities, office management, and technology. Working with the executive director and research and policy directors, she ensures that the Institute has the right systems in place to support its mission and various projects in an effective and efficient manner. Additionally, she provides support to the executive director by managing his calendar and prioritizing opportunities and activities. Prior to joining the Institute she worked at the Vera Institute of Justice as special assistant to the president where she was the primary point of contact within the executive department for senior management, government partners, trustees and other outside stakeholders. Before beginning her career in the nonprofit sector, she worked at MetLife analyzing economic trends in Latin America. She received her B.A. in international relations and language and culture from the State University of New York at Purchase.
CUNY Institute for State & Local Governance_09.22.15Michele Toplitz
  • Michele Toplitz
    Senior Policy Associate
    Michele Toplitz brings 10 years of policy research and evaluation experience to ISLG. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked as a research associate at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in Washington, D.C. Michele was a key member of a team supporting the Transportation Security Administration’s continuous efforts toward improving its performance. This series of studies examined the scientific basis for a behaviorally-based screening approach, evaluated program effectiveness, and developed individual and organizational performance indicators. She has also co-authored several evaluations of literacy programs in urban school districts as well as supported the development and validation of assessments to measure teacher quality and effectiveness. Michele holds an M.A. in psychology from The New School for Social Research, and a B.A. in anthropology/sociology and Spanish from Lafayette College.