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Aisha Cornelius Edwards

Title/s:  Program Officer, Criminal Justice Reform

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About

Aisha Cornelius Edwards is a program officer with the Criminal Justice Reform team at the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She spends most of her time on the team’s Safety and Justice Challenge, a national initiative to address mass incarceration by supporting system and community stakeholders working collaboratively to develop policies and strategies that reduce the number of people incarcerated and racial disparities in jails. Before joining the Foundation, Aisha was the Supervising Attorney of Criminal Defense at Cabrini Green Legal Aid. Aisha managed a team of staff attorneys and volunteers serving clients with felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile matters, including delinquency and parole allegations. She also conducted community outreach and education about the criminal legal system to various audiences throughout Cook County. Aisha was also an Assistant State’s Attorney for Cook County, where she had various assignments, including appeals, felony review, domestic violence, preliminary hearings, and special prosecutions. While there, she was part of an interdisciplinary task force that created a regular court call for hearing expungement and sealing petitions and reduced the county’s backlog from four years to three months. Aisha has conducted numerous trials and argued in front of both the Illinois Appellate and Illinois Supreme Courts. Aisha received a juris doctor and advocacy certificate from Loyola in 2005, and an Executive MBA focused on innovative leadership and strategy development from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2017. Aisha is also a 2020 Racial Justice Institute Fellow with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

Degrees

JD, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, 2005

MBA, University of Illinois, 2017

Courses Taught

Criminal Law Practicum

Professional Identity Formation Program