Eric Tennen, Board Chair Eric Tennen is a partner at Swomley and Tennen, LLP. He is primarily a trial attorney, representing persons charged with serious felonies. He specializes in issues related to sex offenses and collateral consequences, such as involuntary civil commitment and sex offender registration. In addition to his work as a trial attorney, Eric has extensive experience as an appellate advocate. He began his career as a judicial law clerk. He has successfully argued many cases in the Appellate Courts of Massachusetts. He has also authored several amicus briefs on behalf of various organizations. Eric is one of few attorneys authorized to represent indigent defendants in District Court, Superior Court, and in post-conviction matters (appeals), as well as persons who are charged with murder, petitioned for involuntarily commitment, and those appearing before the Sex Offender Registry Board. He also represents Federal defendants through the Criminal Justice Act.
In 2011, he was awarded the Paul Liacos Mental Health Advocacy Award by the Committee for Public Counsel Services for zealous advocacy on behalf of indigent defendants. Since 2015, he has been selected as a "Super Lawyer" as published in Boston Magazine. He graduated from the University of Michigan, with distinction, in 1998. He graduated from Boston University School of Law, magna cum laude, in 2001. He received his LL.M. in Criminal Law from the University of Buffalo School of Law in 2004. He is also an adjunct professor at Boston University School of Law. Eric joined the Board of Directors in 2009.
Nat Harrison Nat, now retired, and his wife returned to the United States in September 2014 after many years living and working in France and elsewhere overseas and are now settled in Watertown. He had several reasons for wanting to return, but key among them was a desire to join what appears to be a burgeoning groundswell against mass incarceration. He is particularly interested in efforts to repeal legislation imposing life without the possibility of parole sentences.
His engagement is also deeply personal and dates from 1973 when, in the aftermath of the uprising at Attica, he was moved to join a Concord-based group called the Peaceful Movement Committee (PMC). The Committee brought together members of the community and men serving time at MCI Concord. They met once a week to talk and share and to work on various projects. He was a reporter then for the Lowell Sun and as such helped with the editing and printing of a PMC newspaper.
It was through the PMC that Nat met a man just a few years younger than him who was at the start of what would be life in prison without the possibility of parole. He remains incarcerated in Massachusetts, though he continues to appeal his conviction. They have stayed connected over the last 40+ years and, as he has been moved frequently from prison to prison, Nat believes that as a result he have visited every state penal institution in Massachusetts.
He left the Lowell Sun and the United States in 1976, returning each summer to visit family and friends. He worked five years as a freelance journalist in Cairo and then joined the Paris-based French news agency Agence France-Presse in 1982. He retired from AFP, where he worked as a correspondent and editor, in November 2011. In Paris, he was a prison visitor and was part of a national program to offer support and friendship to men from France and other countries serving short-to-medium-term sentences. Through this program he was able to visit four different French prisons.
Nat has been married since 1973 and has two grown children, a son and a daughter, and one grandson. He was born in Boston in 1946. Nat joined the Board of Directors in 2016.
Frank Farrow Frank Farrow was born and raised in the Roxbury section of Boston. Frank Farrow is the Founder and Executive Director of the Elevate Boston Foundation, a non-profit organization located in Roxbury. Elevate Boston is a community-based youth violence prevention organization for predominantly Black and Latino males aimed at creating a healthy, positive community through mentorship, violence prevention, and trauma reduction initiatives. Elevate Boston initiatives focus on youth development, academic enrichment activities, service learning, social justice awareness, restorative justice workshops, workforce development, and recreational activities.
Frank continues to strive to foster safe and healthy communities through his professional and community work. Frank joined the Board of Directors in 2019.
Rebecca Cudmore Kendall Rebecca Cudmore Kendall is an Assistant Professor in the Criminal Justice & Sociology Department at Curry College. She graduated in May of 2017 with her Ph.D. in Criminology and Justice Studies from Northeastern University. Before that, Rebecca received her master’s degree in Forensic and Counseling Psychology from William James College.
Rebecca has clinical experience doing mental health and sex offender assessment and treatment with incarcerated male offenders in two Massachusetts state prisons. Her primary clinical, policy, and research interests are in the area of violence and victimization, with a specific focus on sex offender treatment and reentry. Her recent publications include manuscripts in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence and Criminal Justice Policy Review.
Rebecca is passionate about addressing issues related to: · Community notification and residency restrictions for sex offenders · Employment and housing challenges for individuals reentering society from the prison system · The overlap between mental illness and crime and the treatment of mentally ill offender in corrections · LGBTQ+ population interaction with the criminal justice system
Rebecca joined the Board of Directors in 2019.
Allison Perri Newman Allison brings a cross-sector communications background to the team. After obtaining her degrees in Marketing and Media Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Allison returned home to Farmville, Virginia. From there, she worked for nearly three years in the endowment investment department of the University of Richmond, where she served as the client service liaison to the University’s 22 nonprofit partners.
In 2013, Allison began her MBA journey with a concentration in Public and Nonprofit Management at Boston University. She completed her fellowship at Boston City Hall, in the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement. After graduation, she spent two and half years at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as a Marketing and Communications Manager with the Operational Services Division, the State’s purchasing and procurement agency.
Presently, she is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Samaritans, Inc., a suicide prevention nonprofit. She is passionate about eliminating barriers to employment, financial aid, and housing for formerly incarcerated folks; restoring voting rights; practicing restorative justice; treating those with mental health and substance abuse crises; and abolishing death penalty and, ultimately, all prisons. Allison joined the Board of Directors in 2019.
Deb Goldfarb Deb Goldfarb is a licensed independent clinical social worker who has been working with clients and in communities affected by the criminal legal system for the past 10 years. In recent years, she has expanded her work beyond direct clinical care to include advocacy efforts. Deb's work in the field began with providing case management to clients experiencing significant mental illness, addiction, homelessness, and personal crises in Boston. Following graduate school, Deb worked in the Massachusetts Department of Corrections as a mental health professional. Primarily working with females incarcerated at MCI-Framingham, she gained invaluable clinical experience in trauma, serious mental illness, and substance use while providing individual and group counseling as well as crisis intervention. She worked with both individuals awaiting trial and those serving a wide range of state prison sentences. Deb also worked as a jail diversion clinician with a local police department, a position funded by the MA Department of Mental Health. Through this role she also provided training on mental health for police through the Crisis Intervention Training programs in the Boston region.
While working with the police and in the state prisons she felt a strong need to advocate for clients negatively affected by the systems she was working in, and became involved in the National Association of Social Workers - Massachusetts Chapter, where she is now co-chair of their Criminal Justice Advocacy Committee. Through this volunteer work she helps lead a group of passionate social workers throughout the Commonwealth in legislative advocacy on necessary criminal justice reform through organizing legislative and educational events, providing legislative testimony and partnering with other local advocacy groups.
Currently Deb holds two part-time positions within the field of social work. She is a clinical social worker at Harvard Law School's Criminal Justice Institute, a law clinic which takes a holistic approach to client representation. The clinic serves indigent adults and juvenile clients facing misdemeanor and felony charges in Boston criminal courts. She also holds a management position with Boston Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry, where she runs a clinical case management program that supports some of the city’s most vulnerable individuals. The program works with high risk individuals who frequently access psychiatric emergency services, have high rates of inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations and are affected by many social determinants of health, including the criminal legal system. Through this work, Deb collaborates closely with many local and state agencies and providers. Deb joined the Board of Directors in 2020.
Cynthia Goldberg Cynthia Goldberg is the Founder and Director of The F8 Foundation, which works with returning citizens and those who suffer from substance use disorders. Her program has an out-of-the-box approach which focuses on full life recovery.
Cynthia works with many of the Massachusetts and Southern prisons for re-entry plans back into society. Many of her clients are on probation and parole and this program focuses on a specialized after care plan to help with the re-integration into society. She works closely with the courts, rehabilitation facilities and sober living facilities. She serves as a prison advocate. Cynthia has served on the Board of Directors for Dress for Success and The Family Service Coalition. She was born and educated in Boston and has a background in Nursing and Business. Cynthia has been married since 2006 and has one grown daughter. She joined the Board of Directors in 2020.
Alexandra Brunelle Alexandra “Lexie” Brunelle is a Public Defender with the Committee for Public Counsel Services. She currently represents persons charged in Middlesex County with serious felonies. Prior to practicing in Middlesex County, she practiced in Bristol County, Suffolk County, and Norfolk County as a Public Defender. Since all of her cases are court-appointed cases, she represents individuals charged with a variety of crimes including drug trafficking, serious sex offenses, home invasion, and attempted murders. While working in Suffolk County, Lexie worked to reverse convictions that were illegally obtained by the rogue chemist, Annie Dookhan.
Lexie is passionate about her work as a Public Defender and fights against a number of issues that unfairly plague the indigent population in the criminal justice system. She would like to see the criminal justice system focus more on mental health and addiction recovery services rather than incarceration.
She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, magna cum laude, with great distinction, in 2009. She graduated from New England Law Boston, in 2012. Lexie joined the Board of Directors in 2020.