Faculty Directors

Carol S. Steiker

Henry J. Friendly Professor of Lawsteiker@law.harvard.edu617-496-5457

Carol Steiker is the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law and faculty co-director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program. Her primary interest is the broad field of criminal justice, where her work ranges from substantive criminal law to criminal procedure to institutional design, with a special focus on issues related to capital punishment.

Professor Steiker served on the board of Editors of the Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice (2nd ed. Macmillan 2002), she is the editor of Criminal Procedure Stories (Foundation 2006), she is a co-editor with Michael Klarman and David Skeel of The Political Heart of Criminal Procedure: Essays on Themes of William J. Stuntz (Cambridge University Press 2012), and she is a co-author of the Kadish, Schulhofer, Steiker & Barkow casebook, Criminal Law and Its Processes (9th ed. Aspen 2012). Recent publications address topics such as the relationship of criminal justice scholarship to law reform, the role of mercy in the institutions of criminal justice, and the likelihood of nationwide abolition of capital punishment.

Courses taught by Professor Steiker have included Criminal Law, Advanced Criminal Procedure (both Investigation and Adjudication), Capital Punishment in America, Thinking About Law Teaching (with Professor Todd Rakoff), Criminal Justice Workshop (with Professor Adriaan Lanni), and Justice and Mercy in Jewish and Christian Tradition and American Criminal Law (with Professor Sarah Coakley of the Harvard Divinity School). Professor Steiker has offered reading groups on Criminal Justice Theory and Voices From Inside the Criminal Justice System.

Professor Steiker is a graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges and Harvard Law School, where she served as president of the Harvard Law Review, the second woman to hold that position in its then 99-year history. After clerking for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court, she worked as a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where she represented indigent defendants at all stages of the criminal process. She has been a member of the Harvard Law School faculty since 1992, where she was Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1998-2001 and where she currently serves as the Dean’s Special Advisor for Public Service. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University. In addition to her scholarly work, Professor Steiker has worked on pro bono litigation projects on behalf of indigent criminal defendants, including death penalty cases in the United States Supreme Court. She has also served as a consultant and an expert witness on issues of criminal justice for non-profit organizations and has testified before Congress and state legislatures.

Alex Whiting

Professor of Practiceawhiting@law.harvard.edu617-495-4622

Alex Whiting is a Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School and faculty co-director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program. He teaches, writes and consults on domestic and international criminal prosecution issues. From 2010 until 2013, he was in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague where he served first as the Investigations Coordinator, overseeing all of the investigations in the office, and then as Prosecutions Coordinator, overseeing all of the office’s ongoing prosecutions.

Before going to the ICC, Whiting taught for more than three years as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, again with a focus on prosecution subjects. From 2002-2007, he was a Trial Attorney and then a Senior Trial Attorney with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. He was lead prosecution counsel in Prosecutor v. Fatmir Limaj, Isak Musliu, and Haradin Bala; Prosecutor v. Milan Martic; and Prosecutor v. Dragomir Miloševic. Before going to the ICTY, he was a U.S. federal prosecutor for ten years, first with the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., and then with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston where he focused on organized crime and corruption cases.

Whiting attended Yale College and Yale Law School, and clerked for Judge Eugene H. Nickerson of the Eastern District of New York. His publications include Dynamic Investigative Practice at the International Criminal Court, 76 Law and Contemporary Problems 163 (2014), INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW: CASES AND COMMENTARY (2011), co-authored with Antonio Cassese and two other authors, and In International Criminal Prosecutions, Justice Delayed Can Be Justice Delivered, 50 Harv. Int’l L. J. 323 (2009).

Executive Director

Brook Hopkins

Executive Directorbhopkins@law.harvard.edu617-495-4169

Brook Hopkins has over ten years of experience working on a broad range of complex cases at all levels of state and federal court.  She has represented criminal defendants, death row inmates, plaintiffs in civil rights cases, and immigrant victims of domestic violence seeking work authorization.  She has experience working with prosecutors, public defenders, advocacy organizations, and scholars in the criminal justice field.  Most recently, Hopkins was a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law and Harvard Law School.

Hopkins received her J.D. degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. There she served as an editor on the Harvard Law Review. Following law school, she clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Justices David H. Souter (ret.) and Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States. Hopkins served as a Relman Civil Rights Litigation Fellow at Relman, Dane & Colfax, PLLC and Special Assistant to then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan. She also worked as a senior associate and counsel at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, where she specialized in appellate litigation.  Hopkins maintained a robust pro bono practice, focusing primarily on criminal cases, including death penalty cases.


Colin Doyle

Legal Fellowcdoyle@law.harvard.edu(617) 495-0498

Colin Doyle joins the Criminal Justice Policy Program after receiving his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. There he served as articles chair for the Harvard Law Review and provided legal representation for indigent clients with the Criminal Justice Institute and Harvard Defenders. While pursuing his J.D., Doyle interned at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and the ACLU of Michigan. Prior to law school, he worked as a counselor for a crisis and suicide prevention hotline in New York City. After working for CJPP, he will clerk for Judge Cheryl Ann Krause of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Benjamin Lu

Empirical Researcherblu@law.harvard.edu617-495-7887

Benjamin’s research interests lie at the intersection of data science and law. He double-majored in mathematics and philosophy at Pomona College and graduated magna cum laude with distinction in both his math senior thesis, on the development of statistical methods for enhancing the predictions of the random forest machine learning algorithm, and his philosophy senior exercise, on the right to privacy. In college, he worked on a research team applying video processing and machine learning techniques in order to extract high-level semantic features from Los Angeles Police Department body-worn videos, edited the student newspaper, and was a teaching assistant for courses in computational statistics, linear algebra, and macroeconomic theory.

Ranit Patel

Legal Fellowrpatel@law.harvard.edu617-495-0550

Ranit Patel joins the Criminal Justice Program after receiving her J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2017. As a student in the Racial Equities Clinic she worked with the Legal Defense Fund on its school desegregation docket. She represented indigent clients through the Criminal Defense and Reentry Clinic and through her summer internship with the Federal Defenders of New York. Throughout law school, she represented students suspended from New York City public schools as a case manager and advisor for the Suspension Representation Project. During her second law school summer, she interned with the Center for Constitutional Rights on their Racial Justice and Government Misconduct docket. Prior to law school, Ranit worked as a paralegal in the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. After working for CJPP, she will clerk for Judge Alvin Thompson of the District Court of Connecticut.

Mitali Nagrecha

Director, National Criminal Justice Debt Initiativemnagrecha@law.harvard.edu617-496-3002

Mitali Nagrecha joins CJPP as an attorney with over seven years of experience working on criminal justice policy issues. For nearly as long, Mitali has had an interest in the issue of criminal justice debt and co-authored the Brennan Center’s 2010 report “Criminal Justice Debt: A Barrier to Reentry.”

Most recenty, in partnership with Center for Community Alternatives and Mary Katzenstein, Professor of American Studies at Cornell University, Mitali published “When All Else Fails, Fining the Family,” a paper that provides first person accounts of individuals with criminal justice debt. The paper concludes that these individuals are often making ends meet only through reliance on family and goes on to suggest policy solutions.

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 and sentencing reform; local, state and federal efforts to increase access to reentry housing; and legislative changes to child support laws.

Ms. Nagrecha joined the Fortune Society from the City of Newark Office of Reentry, where she served as the Senior Policy Director for Mayor Cory Booker. While in New Jersey, Ms. Nagrecha provided recommendations to the Office of the Governor as co-author of a report, “Prisoner Reentry Services in New Jersey: A Plan to Reduce Recidivism.” 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 served as a Fulbright Scholar in India.

Anna J. Weick

Program Assistantaweick@law.harvard.edu617-384-7715

Anna J. Weick joined the Criminal Justice Policy Program staff in August 2016. Previously, she worked for several years with the YWCA Cambridge, a women’s housing provider and racial and gender justice advocacy organization. She currently serves on the City of Cambridge LGBTQ+ Commission. Anna graduated cum laude from Wellesley College with a major in American Studies and completed an honors thesis focused on leveraging art with activism to further social justice causes. She is working towards a Master’s Degree in Social Innovation and Sustainability from Goddard College, where she is exploring how lesbian and queer women organize healing movements for justice.


Thomas Abt

Visiting Senior Fellowtabt@law.harvard.edu

As a former Assistant District Attorney, Thomas Abt is interested in the use of evidence-informed approaches to spur innovation and reform among prosecutors.

Abt began his legal career with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in 2000, where he handled hundreds of criminal cases, including murder, gang assault, armed robbery, grand larceny, and domestic violence matters. After, he worked as an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where his areas of practice included criminal defense and internal investigations, as well as antitrust, securities, and civil rights litigation.

In 2009, Abt joined the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served as Chief of Staff to the Office of Justice Programs, working with the nation’s principal criminal justice grant-making, research, and statistics  agencies to integrate evidence, policy, and practice. He played a lead role in establishing the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, a network of federal agencies and local communities working together to reduce youth and gang violence. He was also a founding member of the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, a place-based development effort recognized by the Harvard Kennedy School as one of the Top 25 Innovations in Government.

In 2013, Abt became the Deputy Secretary for Public Safety in New York State, where he oversaw all criminal justice and homeland security agencies, including the Divisions of Corrections and Community Supervision, Criminal Justice Services, Homeland Security and Emergency Services, as well as the State Police. During his tenure, Abt led the development of New York’s GIVE (Gun-Involved Violence Elimination) Initiative, which employs evidence-informed, data-driven approaches to reduce violence.

In addition to his work with the Criminal Justice Policy Program, Abt currently works as a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for International Development (CID) at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he leads CID’s Security and Development Seminar Series. In addition, he serves as a Senior Fellow with the Igarapé Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and as an Advisory Board Member to the Police Executive Programme at the University of Cambridge, England.

Chiraag Bains

Visiting Senior Fellowcbains@law.harvard.edu

Chiraag Bains, a former federal prosecutor and senior official in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, is interested in criminal justice reform strategies that enhance public safety and build trust between communities and law enforcement.  In addition to his role as a Visiting Senior Fellow with the Criminal Justice Policy Program, he is a Leadership in Government Fellow at the Open Society Foundations.

From 2014 to 2017, Mr. Bains was Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  There, he helped lead DOJ’s work on criminal justice reform, including with respect to policing, solitary confinement, court debt and bail reform, and the criminalization of homelessness.  Mr. Bains was also a member of the team that investigated the Ferguson Police Department for a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct and co-wrote the Ferguson Report.  In addition, he helped oversee the work of the Special Litigation, Housing & Civil Enforcement, Criminal, and Appellate Sections, and managed congressional oversight for the Division.

Previously, Mr. Bains was a federal prosecutor in the Division’s Criminal Section, where he prosecuted officer misconduct, hate crimes, and interference with access to reproductive health clinics.  He also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the sex offense and domestic violence unit of the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Mr. Bains clerked for Judge Karen Nelson Moore on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Nancy Gertner on the federal district court in Boston.  He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an Articles Editor on the Harvard Law Review and a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow; his M.Phil. in Criminology from the University of Cambridge on a Gates Scholarship; and his B.A. from Yale College, where he was a Truman Scholar.  He was also a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in New York City.