Join Laura as she talks with former public defender and current policy expert, Krystal Rodriguez. Krystal has spent her entire career focusing on how to represent, defend, advocate for, and shift systems to better serve folks from marginalized and underserved communities. In this conversation they discuss her incredibly interesting and critically important work on bail reform and closing Rikers Island. She generously shares her insightful self-reflection and the subsequent rough road she traveled as she enacted her Plan B. And they talk about the importance of understanding what being personally connected to one’s career means for one’s life – inside and outside of work. Krystal is widely sought after for her expertise, depth and breadth of experience, respect for those she serves, powerful leadership, and – of course – sense of humor. Laura’s admiration of Krystal runs deep and we know that what she has to share will be a gift for our listeners.
Krystal Rodriguez is the Policy Director of the Data Collaborative of Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Focusing on the criminal legal system and the overuse of jails, she develops policy recommendations to support evidence-based criminal justice reforms and provides legal analysis and interpretation to inform DCJ’s research. She received her Juris Doctorate from the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law. Ms. Rodriguez previously served as the Director of Law and Justice Policy, Jail Reform at the Center for Court Innovation, where she focused on the harms caused by the jails in New York City. Her work included planning and piloting initiatives to reduce jail populations and divert individuals away from pretrial detention, including supporting the expansion of NYC’s supervised release program. She also offered training and technical assistance to municipalities throughout the country seeking to institute reforms. Krystal draws on her years as a public defender with Brooklyn Defender Services, and her experience in law school representing non-citizen clients in deportation proceedings and work with Main Street Legal Services and CLEAR Project. She also served on the Law Review Editorial Board.