Gail T. Smith founded CLAIM (Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers) to provide free legal aid, client education and public advocacy for incarcerated mothers, their children and the children's guardians. She currently serves as CLAIM’s Senior Policy Director. Gail drafted legislation to ban the use of shackles on women during labor and childbirth, and working with formerly incarcerated mothers, helped to make Illinois the first state in the nation to outlaw this practice. She has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the Illinois General Assembly and the Cook County Board of Commissioners. She received the Impact Award from Chicago Foundation for Women in 2012, the National Organization for Women-Chicago Chapter's 2011 Women Who Dared award, the 2005 YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s Racial Justice Award, the 1995 Chicago Tribune Tempo/Woman award, and the 1991 New York University Public Interest Law Foundation award for courageous and untiring advocacy on behalf of incarcerated mothers. She earned her J.D. at New York University and her B.A. magna cum laude from Barat College of DePaul University, and taught high school prior to becoming a lawyer.