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.

Reggie Smith

Reggie Smith

Policy Analyst

RSmith@TexasCJC.org

Reggie Smith is a passionate advocate for people with mental health conditions, substance use disorder, and criminal justice involvement. Having served several years in prison, he brings his own lived experience with justice involvement, behavioral health, and peer support to his work, and as a Policy Analyst at TCJC, Reggie seeks to transform the relationship between criminal justice and mental health through the advancement of innovative policies and model programs. Reggie graduated with high honors from The University of Texas at Austin in 2016 and is completing his graduate studies at the University of Texas Steve Hicks School of Social Work. He previously served as a 2016-2018 Hogg Foundation of Mental Health Peer Policy Fellow at Communities for Recovery. Reggie was appointed to Texas’ Judicial Commission on Mental Health in April 2018, and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Austin/Travis County Sobering 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.

Day Brown

Policy Associate

dbrown@TexasCJC.org

Day Brown received her B.S. in Criminal Justice and her B.A. in Political Science: Pre-Law from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She is now pursuing her Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center and will graduate in 2020. Day is currently participating in the Texas Legislative Internship Program, and she serves as a member of her law school’s Trial Advocacy Competition Team, which placed in 2018’s National Workplace Competition sector. Day also participates in the Pro Bono Club at her law school, where she has dedicated more than 100 hours of service to a number of nonprofits over the past two years. After graduation, Day plans to work for a nonprofit to bring attention to her passions, including building restorative justice policies for schools, lowering mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, and bringing awareness to horrific prison conditions.  

Amelia Casas

Policy Associate

acasas@TexasCJC.org

Amelia Casas is currently working towards earning her M.S.S.W. from the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. Through her Policy Associate position at TCJC, she hopes to prove that social workers can play an active role in developing safe, united Texas communities. Amelia received her B.S.W. in 2017 and brings her personal experience providing direct services to youth in the justice system. Amelia is a social justice advocate in training and is a firm believer that all individuals have the right to be heard and respected.

Andrew Robinson

Policy Associate

arobinson@TexasCJC.org

Andrew Robinson recieved his B.A. in Criminology from St. Edwards University and is currently pursuing his Masters from the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas. He previously worked at TCJC as a volunteer and is excited to return as a Policy Associate. He brings to this work his passion for criminal justice reform and desire to better understand the impact of interconnected systems on disadvanataged individuals and communities. 

Samantha Smothermon

Policy Associate

ssmothermon@TexasCJC.org

Samantha Smothermon is a Sociology and Criminal Justice student at Texas State University in San Marcos. Samantha joined TCJC to make a positive impact in the lives of those negatively affected by the criminal justice system. Her primary interest is helping previously incarcerated individuals find the resources they need to successfully reintegrate to our communities. Samantha will be graduating Summer 2019 and plans to attend graduate school for either Sociology or Criminal Justice in Fall 2019.

Alycia Speasmaker

Policy Associate

speasmaker@TexasCJC.org

Alycia is a Policy Associate with TCJC, where she advocates for a public health approach to mental and behavioral health issues to help people avoid justice system involvement. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Social Work at Texas State University, conducting research to find evidence-based solutions to problems facing marginalized populations. Furthermore, she uses her social work background to provide trauma-informed perspectives to existing environments. Alycia’s background in teaching and education management also provide her a holistic view of the intersecting factors that may lead to system involvement.

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.

Jenny Schurk, M.S.

Finance and Operations Manager

jschurk@TexasCJC.org

Jenny Schurk graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2007, where she earned a B.A. in English. As an undergraduate in Minneapolis, she volunteered with Communities United Against Police Brutality and was exposed to the challenges and opportunities for improvement within the criminal justice system. Jenny has worked as a nonprofit professional for over nine years in the areas of fundraising, marketing, and communications. In 2014, she graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she earned an M.S. in Urban Studies.  Jenny joined the TCJC team in 2015 to develop an individual giving program and manage donor relations.  Combining her previous nonprofit experience with her knowledge of TCJC’s projects and activities, Jenny currently serves as TCJC’s Finance and Operations Manager and continues to support TCJC’s existing development efforts.

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.