Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Udi Ofer

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Udi Ofer is the Deputy National Political Director of the ACLU and Director of the ACLU’s Justice Division, which leads the ACLU’s advocacy on criminal justice reform, policing, drug law reform and ending the death penalty. It also includes the Campaign for Smart Justice, which is dedicated to cutting the nation’s incarcerated population by 50% and challenging racism in the criminal legal system. Ofer is also a visiting lecturer at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. During his tenure at the ACLU, Ofer has overseen the passage of more than 200 criminal justice reform laws that will lead to tens of thousands of fewer people incarcerated. He has overseen the launch of new and innovative electoral, legislative, public education, and litigation strategies, including the ACLU’s first-ever voter mobilization campaign in a district attorney race as part of a broader initiative to hold prosecutors accountable for fueling mass incarceration. Ofer brings more than 15 years of experience as a civil rights lawyer to the ACLU. From 2013-2016, he served as Executive Director of the ACLU of New Jersey. Under his leadership, the organization achieved historic victories on a variety of issues, including overhauling New Jersey’s broken bail system, creating one of the nation’s strongest police civilian review boards in Newark, banning the use of solitary confinement as a punishment for juveniles, and launching a bipartisan campaign to tax and regulate marijuana. From 2003-2013, he worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he founded the Advocacy Department. There he challenged the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices and spearheaded the successful effort to pass legislation banning racial profiling by the NYPD and creating an NYPD Inspector General’s office. Ofer was also a co-founder of Communities United for Police Reform in New York City. Ofer began his legal career in 2001 as a Skadden Fellow at My Sisters’ Place, a domestic violence organization. He was an adjunct professor at New York Law School from 2009-2012 and has published widely, including in the Seton Hall Law Review, Columbia Law School Journal of Race and Law, and New York Law School Law Review. Ofer’s work and commentary have been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and hundreds of news outlets. He has testified before numerous legislatures, including the United States Senate, and is frequently cited as an expert on criminal justice matters. Ofer is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Graduate Award from Fordham Law School, a presidential new executive award from the Open Society Foundations, and a 2004 proclamation from the New York City Council for his outstanding service to the city and state. He is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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