Michelle Jones, David Dagan, Meg Reiss, Steven Teles, Adam Foss, & Max Kenner

Michelle Jones, David Dagan, Meg Reiss, Steven Teles, Adam Foss, & Max Kenner


Michelle Jones is a first-year doctoral student in the American Studies program New York University.  She is a Research Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for American Studies at Harvard University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Ball State University.  Following graduation, Michelle completed a four-year seminary ministerial diploma from the University of the South. Her interest in history, women, race, and prisons led her for the last four years to participate with a group of incarcerated scholars in challenging the narratives of the history of women’s prison. Incarcerated for twenty years, Michelle made the most of the academic platform given to publish and present her research findings and dispel notions of about the reach and intellectual capacity of justice-involved women.  Michelle’s advocacy extends beyond the classroom. She is currently on the board of Constructing Our Future, a reentry alterative for women, created by incarcerated women in Indiana, wherein they are given access to rehabilitative programming, carpentry job skills and the means to earn their own home. Michelle is also the Entrepreneurship Development Director for The Ladies of Hope Ministries and a 2017 Beyond the Bars fellow. In addition, she has presented legislative testimony on a reentry alterative she created for long-term incarcerated people that was approved by the Indiana State Interim Committee on the Criminal Code.  Michelle is also an artist and is interested in finding ways to funnel her research pursuits into theater and dance, including writing an original play, “The Duchess of Stringtown,” produced in fall 2017 in Indianapolis and New York (selected scenes).


David Dagan is a freelance journalist and a PhD candidate in political science at Johns Hopkins University. He is co-author, with Steven Teles, of Prison Break:  Why Conservatives Turned Against Mass Incarceration. His reporting and commentary has been published by outlets including The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, HuffPost and FiveThirtyEight.com. David’s dissertation explores the rise of mass incarceration, focusing on the local and state politics of prisons in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a 2016—17 national fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs. A native of Germany, he holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Politics from Brandeis University. He tweets @DavidDagan.


Meg Reiss is the Executive Director of the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution where she works with prosecutors and the communities they serve to consider a new paradigm of prosecution that measures success, not by convictions and plea outcomes, but by community centered standards of safety, equity, and wellness. With more than 20 years of legal and criminal justice policy experience, Reiss has served as a senior trial and investigative attorney, administrative division chief, policy advocate, project manager, and political leader. Ms. Reiss began her legal career in New York City as an assistant district attorney in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, finishing her tenure in the homicide bureau. Ms. Reiss served as a deputy monitor on the Kroll team that supervised the Los Angeles Police Department’s compliance with their federal consent decree, overseeing the implementation of anti-discrimination, arrest, officer training, and community outreach policies and procedures. She later served in the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office as the chief of staff, where she was number two to the former District Attorney. While living in London, Ms. Reiss advised on the Group Violence Intervention strategy that was implemented in three boroughs in London and led a team monitoring HSBC Holdings as part of their deferred prosecution agreement for violations of U.S. and U.K. laws involving money laundering and sanctions violations. Additionally, she sat on a five-member independent ethics panel overseeing the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police Service.


Steven Teles is Professor of Political Science at the Johns Hopkins University, and Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center. He is the co-author of Prison Break: Why Conservatives Turned Against Mass Incarceration (Oxford, 2016), The Captured Economy (Oxford, 2017), The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement (Princeton, 2008) and Whose Welfare? (Kansas, 1996).


Adam J. Foss is a former Assistant District Attorney in the Juvenile Division of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office (SCDAO) in Boston, MA, and a fierce advocate for criminal justice reform and the importance of the role of the prosecutor in ending mass incarceration. Mr. Foss believes that the profession of prosecution is ripe for reinvention requiring better incentives and more measurable metrics for success beyond, simply, “cases won” leading him to found Prosecutor Impact –  a non-profit developing training and curriculum for prosecutors to reframe their role in the criminal justice system.

During his nine years as a prosecutor, Mr. Foss collaborated with the courts and the community to develop programming that continues to have a positive impact on the neighborhoods he prosecuted in. One example of these efforts is the Roxbury CHOICE program, an initiative Mr Foss co-founded, to turn probation from a punitive sentence into a beneficial relationship with the court, the probation department, and the District Attorney’s  Office. He is also the founder of the SCDAO Reading Program, a program he started, to bridge the achievement gap of area elementary school students. Before leaving the District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Foss was a critical piece of the foundation of the first juvenile diversion program in Suffolk County, keeping young people out of the cradle to prison pipeline.

Most recently, The Mandela Foundation recognized Mr. Foss as the 2017 Nelson Mandela Changemaker of the Year. Fast Company named him one of the Most Creative People in Business of 2017. The NAACP awarded Mr. Foss with the 2017 Roy Wilkins Next Generation Leader Award. The Root named Mr. Foss one of the 100 most influential black Americans of 2016.He was named Graduate of the Last Decade by his alma mater, Suffolk University Law School and is a visiting senior fellow at Harvard Law School. He also is a fellow at the Open Society Foundation Leadership in Government initiative as well as a Director’s Fellow in the world renown MIT Media Lab. In February of 2016, Mr. Foss delivered a TED talk that has already eclipsed 2 million views. In 2015, he was voted one of the country’s 40 most up-and-coming lawyers by National Law Journal and in 2013, the Massachusetts Bar Association voted him Prosecutor of the Year. In both his professional and personal capacities, Mr. Foss volunteers much of his time to the community he works in.

Follow him: Twitter/IG: @adamjohnfoss and @prosecutorimpct or https://prosecutorimpact.com

Max Kenner conceived of and created BPI as a student volunteer organization when he was an undergraduate in 1999. After gaining support of the College and cooperation of New York State Department of Correctional Services, he has overseen the growth of the program into a credit bearing and, subsequently, degree-granting program in 2001. In addition to organization management and program design for BPI, Kenner is responsible for fundraising and management of relations with New York State and the Department of Correctional Services. Kenner has led the expansion of BPI from a pilot program with 15 students to a nationally recognized education initiative enrolling 300 students within six campuses in correctional facilities throughout New York State. Kenner has become a leading advocate for the national restoration of college-in-prison and frequently speaks publicly in a wide variety of forums about the BPI model in education and criminal justice policy. Kenner is co-founder of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, which supports colleges and universities in establishing college-in-prison programs in more than 10 states. Partners include Goucher College in Maryland, Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Bennington College in Vermont, Grinnell College in Iowa, Freedom Education Prison Project in Washington, Washington University in Missouri, and Notre Dame University in Indiana, as well as developing partnerships in Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. Kenner serves as Vice President for Institutional Initiatives and Advisor to the President on Public Policy & College Affairs at Bard College. He was a 2013-2014 fellow-in-residence at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. In 2014 Kenner was appointed to serve on Governor Cuomo’s NY State Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration, Re-Entry Subcommittee. In 2016, Kenner received the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award and the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award, and was named to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 40 Under 40. He is also a past recipient of the Manhattan Institute’s Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship and the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Education.