Mitali Nagrecha launched and directs Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program’s Criminal Justice Debt Initiative. In the two years since its inception, Mitali has built the program into a leading voice in ending the criminalization of poverty. Together with her team and Harvard Law students, Mitali advises state and local jurisdictions seeking to reform fees and fines policies and implements solutions for sustainable change. The Atlantic covered CJPP’s work in North Carolina here. Mitali also advocates for nationwide reform of criminal justice debt practices. To that end, Mitali will be traveling to Europe this year to research its use of day fines as a model for reform in the United States.
Mitali joined CJPP with over ten years of experience researching and advocating on criminalization of poverty and reentry and is a frequent speaker and writer on these issues. Mitali was one of the first advocates to raise concerns of increasing fees and fines in a report for the Brennan Center, Criminal Justice Debt: A Barrier to Reentry. Mitali has also written about fees and fines’ impact on families with Mary Katzenstein, Professor of American Studies at Cornell University in When All Else Fails, Fining the Family published by the Center for Community Alternatives; and about the institutionalization of these practices in A New Punishment Regime, which appeared in the journal Criminology and Public Policy.
Prior to joining CJPP, Mitali was Senior Director of Policy at The Fortune Society where she led the organization’s criminal justice policy efforts, including state and local advocacy to increase use of alternatives to incarceration; local, state and federal efforts to increase access to reentry housing; and legislative changes to child support law. Mitali also served as Senior Policy Director for Cory Booker’s City of Newark Office of Reentry. In between earning her B.A. at Cornell University and her J.D. cum laude from The University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Ms. Nagrecha was a Fulbright Scholar in India.