Valerie Jarrett Joins Board of Directors for the Innocence Project

Valerie Jarrett, Innocence Project Board Member

(New York – December 11, 2019) – The Innocence Project today announced that Valerie B. Jarrett, a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School and senior advisor to the Obama Foundation, has joined its Board of Directors.

“We are delighted that Valerie is joining us,” said Innocence Project board chair Jack Taylor. “Her lifelong commitment to improving the criminal justice system and the people and communities impacted by it make her a tremendous partner for the Board and staff. We look forward to her insights and leadership as the Innocence Project continues our work freeing those who have been wrongfully convicted and preventing future wrongful convictions. “

“One of our top priorities in the Obama Administration was addressing inequality within the criminal justice system.”

Jarrett was the longest-serving Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversaw the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, while also serving as chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls. Among many accomplishments, Jarrett oversaw the Administration’s advocacy for workplace policies that empower working families, including equal pay, raising the minimum wage, paid leave, paid sick days, workplace flexibility and affordable childcare, and led the campaigns to reform our criminal justice system, end sexual assault and reduce gun violence.

“As we continue to address the systemic issues within the criminal justice system that lead to wrongful convictions, we will need to rely on the diversity of experience and leadership of our Board,” said Maddy deLone, the executive director of the Innocence Project. “Valerie brings a wealth of broad leadership experience, innovative thinking and a deep commitment to reforming the criminal justice system. We are honored to have her as part of our Board and look forward to benefiting from all that she will bring to the Innocence Project.”

“I have long admired for its commitment to exonerating the innocent.”

“One of our top priorities in the Obama Administration was addressing inequality within the criminal justice system. We worked hard to achieve meaningful reform, including commuting a record number of sentences for those unfairly incarcerated under harsh and outdated sentencing laws, banning solitary confinement for young people, and establishing a task force to strengthen the trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve,” said Jarrett. “I am deeply honored to continue this important work by joining the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project, an organization I have long admired for its commitment to exonerating the innocent and reforming our country’s criminal justice system to end unjust imprisonment.”

Jarrett is President of the Board of When We All Vote, and serves on the boards of Ariel Investments, 2U, Lyft, the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and the Economic Club of Chicago. Her New York Times bestselling book, Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, was released in April. Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.

The Innocence Project, founded in 1992 by Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck at Cardozo School of Law, exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.

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