Lauren is a passionate leader dedicated to making society more just and equitable, especially for people affected by and involved in the criminal justice system. Lauren has had a diverse career in the public sector with more than eight years of experience working in housing nonprofits, legal organizations, philanthropy, and justice institutes. Most recently she worked with state governments at the Vera Institute of Justice to reduce the system-wide use of solitary confinement in their prisons. Lauren graduated from the National Urban Fellows class of 2016, a rigorous 14-month, full-time graduate degree program where she fulfilled a nine-month mentorship at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and completed a Master’s thesis on the barriers to and benefits of fathers in prison maintaining the relationship with their children. In her spare time, Lauren is an active member of Delta Tau Lambda Sorority, Inc. and she participates in personal growth and development programs with Landmark Worldwide. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Spanish from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College of the City University of New York.
Esther Lim, MSW
For more than 15 years, Esther has advocated for the reformation of the criminal justice system, human and just treatment of people who are incarcerated, and ending mass incarceration. Prior to her new role with CANY as Director of Monitoring and Policy, she was the Director of the Jails Project for the ACLU SoCal. In this role, she defends the civil rights of incarcerated individuals in Los Angeles (the largest jail system in the country), Orange, and Santa Barbara counties. She has monitored conditions of confinement, overcrowding and excessive use of force; she has testified in open court and has worked with federal agencies regarding incidents she personally witnessed. She has also relaunched a successful voter education and registration program (Unlock the Vote) in the LA and OC jails working with community and government partners and with multi-hyphenated rapper and actor, Common.
Esther previously served as the ACLU SoCal’s Deputy Director of Advocacy Operations, responsible for administrative and management duties to ensure a more effective and efficient focus on the affiliate's integrated advocacy approaches to its multi-issue work. Prior to joining the ACLU SoCal, she worked in juvenile correctional facilities conducting individual and group therapy sessions with sex offenders and volunteered with the OC Probation Department’s Adult Sex Offender Unit. Esther was honored for her work in criminal justice reform by LA City Councilmember David Ryu as one of 14 women making a difference in Los Angeles for Asian Pacific Heritage Month in 2018.
Esther was also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Social Work, teaching management and organizational development to master level students. She has also been a field instructor and was awarded the Jules Levine Distinguished Field Education Award for her work with MSW interns in the field. As a side hobby, Esther is an IMDB-credited associate producer, providing script and character assessments and assisting with pre- and post production. She earned her B.S. in Criminal Justice from CSU Long Beach and graduated as a Dean's Scholar with a Master’s in Social Work from USC.
Phil Miller is an advocate for positive change no matter the context. He has extensive experience working with at-risk youth in an effort to help them avoid making decisions that could lead to incarceration. For people whose decisions have already led to incarceration, Phil strongly believes that college and theater programs inside of prisons, along with supportive reentry services on the outside, can provide the foundation they need to change their lives. He was a litigation paralegal for many years, working on legal issues related to prison conditions and criminal defense, and he has worked most recently at the Legal Action Center assisting individuals who experience employment and housing discrimination as a result of their criminal histories. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College; he speaks four languages; and when he’s not working he enjoys tango and photography.