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Jobi Cates is Executive Director and Founder of Restore Justice, a statewide criminal justice reform organization focused on long-term incarceration and its impact on individuals, families, and communities. From 2008 through 2014, Jobi was the Senior Director of the Chicago and Midwest Regional Office of Human Rights Watch (HRW). In her role there, she led the legislative and communications efforts of a broad-based coalition to end the practice of sentencing children who commit serious crimes to “life without parole.” Jobi has extensive non-profit leadership experience over more than 25 years, including roles as Executive Director of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and Executive Director of the Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation. She has served in government twice, leading initiatives for Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan. As a consultant, Jobi has managed projects for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Fund for a Safer Future, the Asset Funders Network, the Chicago Community Trust, and Americares. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, the mother of two children, and an avid crafter. Jobi was recently confirmed as a member of the Illinois Youth Budget Commission by Governor J.B. Pritzker.
Selected Media and Writing:
Marshan Allen is the Policy Director at Restore Justice Foundation, a statewide criminal justice reform organization. He manages policy, advocacy, research, content development, and other projects to reduce over-incarceration, improve prison conditions, and promote economic security for long-term inmates and their families.
Marshan received a sentence of life-without-parole for an offense that occurred when he was 15 years of age but was released after almost 25 years because of the US Supreme Court’s decision in Miller vs Alabama. While incarcerated, Marshan held positions as a law clerk, inventory clerk, and teacher’s aide, among others. In 2006, he assisted the Illinois State Bar Association with a revision of Post-Trial Remedies: A Handbook for Illinois’ Prisoners. He has earned certificates in paralegal studies, business management, computer technology, and restorative justice, and he holds an associate degree from Lake Land College, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Since being released from the Illinois Department of Corrections in 2016, he has served on the board of Restore Justice Foundation and is an active member of the Incarcerated Children’s Action Network (ICAN). Before joining the staff of Restore Justice Foundation, Marshan had been promoted to shift supervisor from a barista at Starbucks.
In 2018, the Illinois Judges Association presented Marshan with the Recognition of Excellence in Outreach Award, for participating in Your Future, Your Choice, a program designed to teach school-aged children about aspects of the law that they often find themselves in conflict with. In 2019, Marshan received the Liberty Bell Award from the Chicago Bar Association and the Grace Warren Award from the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY), where he currently serves on the Board of Directors.
Selected Media and Writings:
Julie Anderson is the Outreach Director for Restore Justice and the mother of Eric, who was sentenced to life without the possibility of Parole (LWOP) in 1995 when he was 15 years old. Eric is now 39. Due to the 2012 United States Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama, in 2017 Eric was resentenced to 30 years, his release date is 2025. Julie is the founder and coordinator of Communities & Relatives of Illinois Incarcerated Children (CRIIC). CRIIC members are family and friends of those who are serving extreme sentences. They offer each other support and encouragement while working to bring back second chances for young people. Julie is a part-time staff member at both Restore Justice and Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR). PBMR is located in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago and is a Restorative Justice Hub. Restore Justice educates and works with legislators to adopt policies that recognize the difference between adults and young people, create pathways out of prison, while also addressing current prison conditions. Julie also serves on the board of the Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI) and is on the Steering Committee for the National Family Network for the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY).
Selected media and writing:
Wendell Robinson is a Program Manager at Restore Justice. He first joined us as the first Future Leaders Apprentice. (The apprenticeship aims to develop non-profit management skills among people returning to the community following extreme sentences.) His current role involves community outreach, data management, and fundraising.
Wendell served 25 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for a conviction at the age of 17. Released in January 2018, he immediately began to both seek sustainable employment and to engagement in advocacy to help his peers who are still incarcerated. He completed a training and certification program in trucking, and had been working as a truck driver before receiving his apprenticeship.
Having attended all of Restore Justice’s advocacy days since his release, Wendell was a strong candidate for the new apprenticeship. “I’m forever focused on being a productive member of society. I understand what it means to be a beacon of hope for all the guys I left behind,” he said.
Alissa Rivera is the Restore Justice Communications Manager. Alissa works on the website, media relations, social media, storytelling, messaging, and communications training for advocates. She joined Restore Justice in July 2019 from the Shriver Center on Poverty Law where she managed digital communications.
Alissa previously worked as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, State Journal-Register, and Tampa Tribune. She also worked for Tampa Bay area television stations. During her reporting career, Alissa worked on investigations related to homelessness and the criminal justice system. She received a Peter Lisagor Award with a reporting team from the Chicago Reporter.
Alissa is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and also holds journalism master’s degrees from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the University of Illinois Springfield. She loves visiting national parks.
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As the Restore Justice Office Manager, Alice manages the organization’s record-keeping, administrative processes, bookkeeping, and human resources. She has more than 15 years of professional experience in non-profit management and education.
Alice joined Restore Justice from the Princeton Review, where she had been a consulting content developer and project manager for eight years. Prior to working for the Princeton Review, she worked in nonprofit administration for seven years. She holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago, is the mother of two boys, and is an avid knitter.