Our Team


Wendy Jason, Founder/Managing Director

Wendy combines her background in restorative practices, mental health, and education with her passion for the arts to foster vibrant, inclusive, and nurturing communities that model and promote social justice. With 25 years of experience in social services, working in residential treatment, mental health centers, schools, shelters, prisons, and jails in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida, Alaska, New Mexico, Maryland, and DC, she understands the myriad challenges confronted by those most impacted by mass incarceration and the root causes of the injustices they face. Wendy is committed to supporting both individual and social change through cultivating relationships grounded in collaboration, trust, authenticity, empathy, and integrity.

Wendy received her BA in Sociology and Applied Social Relations from Eastern Connecticut State University, studied Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, and completed her M.A. in Coexistence and Conflict through Brandeis University’s Alan B. Slifka Program in Intercommunal Coexistence. Her research included a focus on the intersection of the arts and peacebuilding, culminating in a field project built around creative writing, restorative practices, and peace education with incarcerated men and a thesis entitled As long as it comes from the heart: Imagining Coexistence and Nonviolence in a County Jail and Beyond. She has experience facilitating creative writing and conflict transformation workshops at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center and within schools and youth organizations. She has co-taught courses on social justice and conflict transformation through Georgetown University’s Program on Justice and Peace, researched and reported on issues related to restorative justice and the arts for Change.org. Wendy served as the manager of the Prison Arts Coalition website for nine years.

Connect with Wendy at wendy@thejusticeartscoalition.org

Clio Gates, Communications Intern

Clio can be reached at justiceartscoalitionintern@gmail.com


***We are still in the process of building our founding Board. If you believe in our work and would like to be considered for a seat, please click here to learn more.***

Julia Mascioli

Julia Mascioli is the Deputy Director of Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, a DC nonprofit organization that uses books, writing, and community engagement to awaken incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people to new possibilities for their futures. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She is a writer whose short fiction has been published in several literary journals; she is the winner of the District Lit Reader’s Choice Award.

Kimberly Nelson

Kimberly Nelson is a Transformational Coach and Facilitator who has spent her career in service to individuals and society. Her passion is people and she is committed to service through facilitating learning, growth, change, and expansion. Kimberly is the Founder of Point of Discovery Coaching and Consulting LLC, where she dedicates the bulk of her work to healing and economic empowerment for returning citizens and underserved communities. She holds a BA in Psychology from Yale University, is a graduate of the Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development, and holds an MA in Health and Wellness Coaching from the Maryland University of Integrative Health.

Freddy Gutierrez

Freddy Gutierrez, MFA, is an accomplished Writer, Teaching Artist, and Cultural Worker. He has facilitated writing and performance arts spaces with men in incarceration for over 10 years. He specializes in using metaphor alongside personal narrative in order to shape social commentary as catalysts for storytelling. His poetry has been widely published and is a call for positive male socialization, and overall seeks to foster agency of voice in those he creates with. Freddy’s work has been published by The Acentos Review, POOR Magazine, the Nomadic Press, and University of Houston’s Arte Publico Press; and was featured as LoWriter of the Week selected by U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. Freddy currently offers therapeutic performing arts programming at San Quentin through Acting with Compassion and Truth.

Beloved volunteers

Jayme Epstein, Volunteer Coordinator: justiceartscoalitionvolunteers@gmail.com

Absa Fall, online resource library management

Deborah Bloch, letter writing/mail support

Jordi Martinez, website support

Sherry Davis, letter writing/mail support

Olayemi Oladiji, program design support

Raina Greifer, website and fundraising support

Emma Grimes, website support

Advisory Council

***We are still in the process of building our Advisory Council. If you believe in our work and would like to serve as an Advisor, please contact wendy@thejusticeartscoalition.org***

Spoon Jackson

“I’ve found my niche in life despite being in prison for 42 years. I have found that prisons are created internally and are truly found everywhere. I have also discovered that the secrets to break down prison walls are inside each person and I treasure sharing this realness with people. I keep my light glowing through expressing my inner thoughts, vibes and feelings in my poetry and prose writing.”

John R. Whitman, PhD

John is the Director and Executive Producer of Camisary, Inc., co-founded the Museum for Black Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Washington, DC, and taught in graduate schools at American University, Babson College, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, and The University of Alabama in Huntsville. John’s photographs have been purchased byThe National Geographic Magazine and other publications. He is co-author of Understanding the Social Economy of the United States (University of Toronto, 2015) and Delivering Satisfaction and Service Quality (American Library Association, 2001), has published chapters in textbooks on entrepreneurship and law, including in Intellectual Property, Entrepreneurship, and Social Justice (Elgar, 2015), and authored scholarly articles published in peer reviewed journals. He has a BA from Boston University, EdM from Harvard University, and PhD from the University of Toronto.

Matt Malyon

Matt Malyon is a writer, teacher, and jail chaplain living in Washington’s Skagit Valley. In 2015 he founded Underground Writing, a creative writing program serving migrant, incarcerated, recovery, and other at-risk communities through literary engagement and personal restoration. Matt is also the Founder of One Year Writing in the Margins, an initiative “challenging teachers and writers to spend one year facilitating creative writing workshops outside the academy, in at-risk communities, where the transforming powers of reading and writing can be a matter of life and death”.

Laurie Brooks

A ceramics artist who has headed the William James Association since 2001, Laurie has facilitated Arts-in-Corrections programs for incarcerated men, women and youth since 1989. Collaborating with the California Arts Council and others during the 1990’s, she facilitated the development of programs for the California Youth Authority and Arts in Mental Health. Over the past 15 years, she has worked successfully with the National Endowment for the Arts’ Office of Accessibility to establish artist-in-residence programs with five facilities run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. She has a degree in Economics and Community Studies from UC-Santa Cruz and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County.

Carole Alden

Marc Mauer

Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project, is one of the country’s leading experts on sentencing policy, race and the criminal justice system.  He has directed programs on criminal justice policy reform for 40 years, and is the author of some of the most widely-cited reports and publications in the field.  The Atlantic magazine has described him as a scholar who has “reframed how Americans view crime, race, and poverty in the public sphere.” His 1995 report on racial disparity and the criminal justice system led the New York Times to editorialize that the report “should set off alarm bells from the White House to city halls – and help reverse the notion that we can incarcerate our way out of fundamental social problems.” In 2018 Mauer was named a “Frederick Douglass 200” awardee as one of 200 individuals “who best embody the spirit and work of Frederick Douglass.” Race to Incarcerate, Mauer’s groundbreaking book on how sentencing policies led to the explosive expansion of the U.S. prison population, was a semifinalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award in 1999.  A second edition was published in 2006 and a 2013 graphic novel version was cited by the American Library Association as one of the “Great Graphic Novels” of the year.  Mauer is also the co-editor of Invisible Punishment, a 2002 collection of essays by prominent criminal justice experts on the social cost of imprisonment, and co-author of The Meaning of Life: The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences.

Steering Committee

The Justice Arts Coalition Steering Committee was launched at the 2015 Arts In Corrections Conference, where approximately 40 people met in two facilitated sessions to discuss the possibility of creating a national network to support the work of organizations and individuals across the field. A group of volunteers formed as the Steering Committee to investigate the needs and benefits of such an organization. Since then, the Steering Committee has surveyed the field, completed a feasibility study, and laid the groundwork for JAC, which they determined should grow out of the Prison Arts Coalition website. Over the last few years, Steering Committee members have contributed endless hours, valuable wisdom, and immense amounts of enthusiasm towards the development of JAC, and many will continue to do so as Advisors and Board members.


Alma Robinson, Executive Director of CA Lawyers for the Arts

Laurie Brooks, Executive Director of the William James Association

Kyes Stevens, Founder/Director of Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project

Curt Tofteland, Founder/Director Shakespeare Behind Bars

Victoria Sammartino, Founder of Voices UnBroken

Ella Turenne, Founder of BlacWomyn Beautiful

Freddy Gutierrez, Teaching Artist at the Artistic Ensemble

Henry Frank, Intern at the William James Association

Jane Golden, Director of Philadelphia Mural Arts

Laura Pacenco, Director of Project Paint

Beth Thielen, Teaching Artist

Lesley Currier, Founder/Director of Marin Shakespeare

Mary Cohen, Founder/Director of Oakdale Community Choir

Katherine Vockins, Founder/Director of Rehabilitation Through the Arts

Kat Kambes, Director of Operations at Jail Guitar Doors

Wendy Jason, Manager of the Prison Arts Coalition website