Inimai Chettiar Joins Brennan Center as Director of Justice Program

July 11, 2012

New York, NY – The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law today announced that Inimai M. Chettiar will join the organization as Director of the Justice Program. In this role, Chettiar will be responsible for coordinating and guiding the organization’s work to end unnecessary incarceration, secure full legal representation for the poor, and ensure equal access to the courts.

“The Brennan Center is thrilled to welcome Inimai. Her leadership in racial and criminal justice issues will be crucial as we work to fix the nation’s broken criminal justice system,” said Michael Waldman, the Center’s president. “Inimai’s insights and research will be invaluable in demonstrating that achieving justice for marginalized communities will bring benefits to all.”

“I look forward to working with the staff at the Brennan Center, which is uniquely positioned to bring much-needed legal expertise and critical analysis to address one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time,” said Chettiar.

Chettiar comes to the Brennan Center from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she was a lead architect of the organization’s priority Initiative to End Overincarceration. At the ACLU, she created and led a nationwide legislative program to reduce prison populations, working with legislators to enact laws to reduce costly prison populations and creating partnerships with bipartisan politicians, academics, and communities of faith and color to form a nationwide coalition to support reforms. In 2011 she was selected by the Center for American Progress to serve as a fellow in recognition of her leadership in the field of racial and criminal justice. She has published extensive scholarship on criminal law reform, racial justice, and economic policy.

Prior to joining the ACLU, Chettiar was an attorney at New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity. There, she led litigation and policy projects that used cost-benefit and economic analysis to advance progressive federal laws in criminal justice, civil rights, economic justice, and public health.

Before that, she was a Litigation Associate in the New York office of the national law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where she served as leading pro bono counsel to prominent constitutional and civil rights groups on groundbreaking death penalty and voting rights litigation and legislative reform. Chettiar also served as judicial law clerk to the Hon. Lawrence M. McKenna at the U.S. District Court for Southern District of New York and before law school worked as an elementary school teacher in Quito, Ecuador. She has a B.A. with honors in political science and psychology from Georgetown University and a J.D. with honors from the University of Chicago School of Law.

To set up an interview, please contact: Madeline Friedman,, 646-292-8357