Senior Director, Community Justice
Chidinma Ume is the Senior Director of Community Justice. Ms. Ume oversees the Center’s technical assistance efforts that promote community justice nationally. Based in Los Angeles, California, Ms. Ume also leads the Center’s strategic partnerships on the West Coast to co-create justice, promote vibrant communities, increase felony decarceration, and build equitable systems. Since joining the Center in 2018, Ms. Ume’s prior roles include serving as the inaugural Director of West Coast Initiatives and as the Interim Director of Policy. In these roles, she has overseen a range of consulting projects in the areas of jail reduction, alternatives to incarceration, criminal justice debt reform, community engagement, and racial equity, including through the Center’s work in the MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge. Before joining the Center, Ms. Ume was a prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and then became the Executive Director for Justice Operations at the New York City Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ). At MOCJ, she led Mayoral initiatives to reduce the Rikers Island jail population and worked collaboratively with criminal justice system actors to make New York City's system safer and fairer. Ms. Ume’s work helped to improve case processing, indigent defense oversight, and mental competency examinations and led to an 18% fewer people detained in New York City’s jail system. Ms. Ume received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she defended clients in D.C. Superior Court and before the U.S. Parole Commission. Ms. Ume teaches restorative justice at Pepperdine Law School and serves on multiple steering and advisory committees that improve how the criminal legal system serves the people it encounters.
Read Power of the People, a piece co-authored by Chidinma Ume in May 2020.