Listen to a thought provoking webinar hosted by The Reentry Initiative that addressed the future of ciminal justice reform in Colorado and around the nation. More than 270 participants listened to these experts share their first-hand knowledge of the changes that lie ahead.

Moderator: Michael Dougherty, District Attorney for the 20th Judicial District (Boulder County)

The son of working-class parents, Michael worked two jobs in high school. He loaded trucks for UPS and worked at a deli while attending Nassau Community College and, using student loans, he graduated from Cornell University and Boston University School of Law. After law school, Michael served for twelve years as a prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He quickly rose to supervisory positions, including Deputy Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit, and ultimately was promoted and became responsible for the management, budget, and personnel of the District Attorney’s Office (an agency with over 1,200 employees), while continuing to prosecute serious cases. In 2009, Michael was recruited to head up the Colorado DNA Justice Review Project, an effort that led to the exoneration of an innocent man wrongly convicted of murder. Just months after arriving in Boulder, Michael was promoted to serve as the head of the Criminal Justice Section for the Attorney General. In 2009, Michael became the second-in-command for the District Attorney’s Office for Jefferson and Gilpin Counties. He was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the office, including major case decisions, budget, personnel, serving as a liaison with members of the community, law enforcement, and the defense bar – while driving back and forth on 93.

Michael has served on numerous groups leading to significant criminal justice reform. Notably, Michael received the Innocence Project’s Award for Advocate for Innocence and Justice. Michael has helped establish problem-solving courts and diversion programs to help offenders get back on the right track. Michael has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado Law School, the University of Denver Sturm School of Law, and at Fordham University. He also served on the Board of the National District Attorneys Association.

Michael and his wife, Antonia, have been married for fourteen years, and are the parents of ten-year-old twins. He is a proud resident of Boulder. When he is not working or spending time with his family, you can find Michael running Colorado’s spectacular trails as he trains for his next ultra-marathon. Michael has twice finished the Leadville 100-Mile Trail Run (2013 and 2016), as well as many 50-mile races around the state.

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Juston Cooper, Deputy Director, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC)

Juston is a native of Denver, Colorado. A graduate of the Denver Public Schools in 1996, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing from Metropolitan State University and Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver. In his varied career he has established a proven record of success when working on social justice issues. His focus is to effect change through political engagement, public policy, strategic planning, organizational development, coalition building and grass roots organizing.  Juston’s work has been primarily in the non-profit sector helping to build and implement public health and safety strategies focused on criminal and juvenile justice reform.  He believes that to truly provide health and safety to communities impacted by systems of oppression it is essential to build and mobilize political power in community by understanding the systemic issues and barriers that those oppressed communities face.

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Annett James, President NAACP Boulder County Branch

Annette is a mom, speaker, an advocate for social and economic equality, and President of NAACP Boulder County Branch. A native of rural Mississippi, she found her way to Boulder, Colorado to study at the University of Colorado, and has lived in Boulder since.

Annett has always had a passion for education, economics and business. She was a member of Black Student Alliance and supported the First Nations Committee. This involvement was the catalyst for her membership in multiple nonprofit organizations and boards, including the Family Learning Center and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. A former chair of the United Black Women of Boulder Valley, she worked to promote the educational, economic, political and social welfare of Black people in Boulder Valley. During her time as an investment broker, she taught training seminars for Black and People of Color on financial planning and she was one of a small group of investment brokers that lobbied fortune 500 companies to conduct some of their stock trades using Black brokers.

Annett helped to found the Joan Washington Scholarship Fund which provided a monetary stipend to Black high school graduates from Boulder and St. Vrain Valley School Districts and the Charles and Mildred Nilon Scholarship which is awarded to a student majoring in education at the University of Colorado who plans to teach in diverse schools.

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Doreen Jokerst, Chief of Police at the University of Colorado Boulder Police Department

Doreen currently leads a department of approximately ninety employees where she has implemented innovative and community-based policing strategies. She strives to build positive relations with the University and Boulder community and has brought forth new policing programs, resulting in effective policing efforts.

Prior to her appointment she served as a police commander in a Denver-metro suburb police department. She held a supervisory position in all major components of this organization to include Patrol, Investigations, the Office of Professional Standards and Support Services. She has commanded several critical incidents ensuring life safety priorities were at the forefront.

She holds a master’s degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She has successfully completed the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command, the Senior Management Institute for Police course, and the FBI National Academy.

Doreen believes building and maintaining positive relationships with both internal and external stakeholders is critical in law enforcement, while ensuring fair and impartial policing. She has a successful, proven and well documented track record of working with sworn and civilian employees, community leaders, citizens, and advocacy groups to find common ground in order to build consensus and solve organizational and community problems.

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Dean Williams,  Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections

Dean was appointed by Governor Jared Polis on January 8, 2019. Prior to joining the Colorado DOC, he was the Commissioner of Corrections in Alaska where he oversaw the operation of community jails, halfway houses, pretrial and sentenced facilities, probation, parole and pre-trial efforts in the state.

Dean served in several capacities during his time in Alaska, to include: Special Assistant to Governor Walker, Special Assistant in the Alaska Department of Public Safety, Researcher for the Alaska Legislature, Executive Director of the Downtown Soup Kitchen, Juvenile Justice Superintendent, Associate Attorney and Paralegal Assistant for the State of Alaska Department of Law, Youth Counselor for the Dept. of Juvenile Justice and Reserve Police Officer for the Anchorage Police Department.

Dean holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Ohio University.


derstanding and changing the thinkin