FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Jennifer J. Parish

Jennifer J. Parish

Urban Justice Center
Director of Criminal Justice Advocacy, Mental Health Project
New York, NY, USA

Jennifer J. Parish is the director of criminal justice advocacy at the Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project. In her current role, Jennifer employs systemic litigation, legislative advocacy, community education, and coalition building to address the problems wrought by the criminalization of mental illness. Alongside New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Jennifer represents plaintiffs in Brad H. v. City of New York, a landmark case which requires New York City to provide discharge planning to people receiving mental health treatment in City jails. Jennifer is a founding member of the NYC Jails Action Coalition, which promotes human rights, dignity, and safety for people in the City jails, and the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement, which advocates for the enactment of the HALT Solitary Confinement Act. She also coordinates Mental Health Alternatives to Solitary Confinement, a coalition that successfully advocated for a law limiting the placement of people with serious mental illness in solitary confinement in New York State prisons.

Prior to joining the Urban Justice Center in 2004, Jennifer worked as a staff attorney in the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society of New York, and as a visiting associate clinical professor in the Criminal Law Clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. From 2012 to 2016, Jennifer served as an adjunct assistant professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work.

Jennifer has testified before the New York City Council, New York State Assembly, New York City Board of Correction, and the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She participated in the Mayor’s Task Force on Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice and serves on the Department of Correction’s advisory boards on adolescents and young adults and crisis intervention teams. She co-authored When a Person with Mental Illness Goes to Prison: How to Help and has had opinion pieces published in The New York Times. She received the Felix A. Fishman Award for Extraordinary Advocacy from New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and the Frances Olivero Advocacy Award from the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.

Jennifer received her B.A. from Austin College, her M.S. in Elementary Education from Lehman College, and her J.D. from New York University School of Law.


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