Jennifer J. Parish is the director of criminal justice advocacy at the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project. She advocates for discharge planning for people with psychiatric disabilities; elimination of the practice of placing people with mental illness in solitary confinement; and the expansion of alternatives to incarceration for people with psychiatric disabilities involved in the criminal justice system.

Ms. Parish is experienced in systemic litigation, legislative advocacy, and community education. She co-counsels Brad H. v. City of New York, a landmark case that requires New York City to provide discharge planning to people receiving mental health treatment in the city jails. She organizes Mental Health Alternatives to Solitary Confinement, a coalition fighting to end the placement of people with mental illness in solitary confinement in state prisons, and is a founding member of the New York City Jails Action Coalition. Ms. Parish also co-counsels Clark v. Astrue and Martinez v. Astrue, litigation to combat the Social Security Administration’s policy of depriving people with outstanding warrants of their disability benefits.

Prior to joining the Urban Justice Center in 2004, Ms. Parish served as a public defender with The Legal Aid Society of New York, and as a visiting associate clinical professor at the Criminal Law Clinic at Cardozo Law School. As a New York City Teaching Fellow, Ms. Parish taught second grade in a public school in the Bronx and received an MS in Elementary Education from Lehman College.

Ms. Parish earned her B.A. in Communication Arts from Austin College, and her J.D. from New York University School of Law.