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CIC Board Member - Nkechi Taifa

Picture of Nkechi Taifa

Nkechi Taifa is President and CEO of The Taifa Group, LLC, a social enterprise consulting firm whose mission is to advance justice. She founded, convenes and directs the Justice Roundtable, an advocacy coalition advancing progressive justice system transformation, and serves as Senior Fellow for the Center of Justice at Columbia University. Taifa served as Advocacy Director for Criminal Justice at the Open Society Foundations for 16 years. Over the course of her career she has also served as legislative and policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Women’s Legal Defense Fund; founding director of Howard University School of Law’s award-winning Equal Justice Program; staff attorney for the National Prison Project; Office Manager and Network Organizer for the Washington Office on Africa; as a private practitioner representing adult and youth clients; and as a first grade teacher. She has focused on a myriad of social justice issues throughout her career, including indigent defense, sentencing, drug policy, policing, prisons, voting, reentry, clemency, racial justice, women, youth, death penalty, political prisoners, reparations and human rights.


Taifa was in the leadership of the coalition responsible for passage of both the Second Chance Act reentry legislation (2008) and the Fair Sentencing Act crack disparity legislation (2010), and successfully fought for the inclusion of strong sentencing provisions in the First Step Act (2018). She helped to fuel the mobilization of the Obama administration’s clemency initiative, which resulted in the early release from unjust imprisonment of over 1,700 prisoners. She has had five law review articles published, and is the author of several reports and White Papers.

Nkechi has testified before the U.S. Congress, the United States Sentencing Commission, the Council of the District of Columbia, and the American Bar Association Justice Kennedy Commission. She served as an appointed Commissioner and Chair of the District of Columba Commission on Human Rights from 2007-2014. She currently serves on the governing board of the Corrections Information Council, an independent monitoring body that provides oversight over the conditions of District residents imprisoned throughout the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the D.C. Department of Corrections. Taifa is a past president of the D.C. Chapter of the National Conference of Black Lawyers and founding member and former chair of the Legislative Commission of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA). She is a Commissioner on the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC).

A native Washingtonian, Nkechi is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. She received her Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School, and graduated magna cum laude from Howard University.