Women making a difference in our community
Kathleen Allison was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom as Secretary for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on October 1, 2020.
In her over 30 years at CDCR, she has held several leadership roles, including most recently Undersecretary of Operations. Prior to that, she was Director of the Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) from 2016 to 2018; Deputy Director of Facility Support from 2012 to 2016; and Associate Director for the Female Offender Programs and Services from 2011 to 2012. Ms. Allison also served in several positions at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran from 2002 to 2011, including Warden; Chief Deputy Administrator; Correctional Administrator; and Correctional Health Services Administrator II. She also held several positions at Avenal State Prison from 1987 to 2002, including Community Resources Manager and Senior Medical Technical Assistant. Ms. Allison began her career as a Medical Technical Assistant at Avenal State Prison in 1987. She is a licensed Registered Nurse.
Ms. Allison has experienced nearly all aspects of corrections in her tenure at CDCR, from health care and custody operations, to fiscal administration, rehabilitative programs, mental health services, and community relationships. Most recently as Undersecretary, she has been critical in the response of CDCR to the COVID-19 pandemic in some of the state’s 35 prisons. Those efforts have included the suspension of intake, visiting and volunteering, the expedited release of eligible inmates, the reduction of the prison population to its lowest level in 30 years, and the response to the outbreak in San Quentin State Prison.
Additionally, Ms. Allison has overseen the evolution of the Department over the past three decades, including the implementation of various criminal justice reforms, such as the voter-approved initiatives Proposition 36, Proposition 47, and Proposition 57. She has also successfully led the development of policies and programs that focus on rehabilitation, restorative justice, and successful reentry, which have made prisons safer for staff and incarcerated people, and has strengthened partnerships with both governmental agencies and community organizations to create a system focused on public safety, personal accountability, and positive change.
Ms. Allison is known to her colleagues as a dedicated, compassionate and knowledgeable leader. She is married, has four children, and has a Tibetan terrier.
Tori Verber Salazar, District Attorney San Joaquin County
Tori Verber Salazar has been a major force in San Joaquin County’s District Attorney Office. She rose through the ranks prosecuting gang related homicides to become the first woman District Attorney elected to the office in 2015. She has since instituted sweeping reform and innovation in prosecution for the County, which supports a population of over 730,000 residents. In her capacity, she oversees a budget of $42 Million and a team of over 280 employees who work for the DA office.
Through her leadership, Verber Salazar has implemented office-wide changes including expansion of Victim-Witness services, establishment of the Family Justice Center (expanding services into multiple cities within the county), and creation of the first Political Integrity Unit dedicated to prosecution of corruption cases - which has led to the successful prosecution of elected or appointed officials for misuse of the public trust.
She is a leader in restoring justice through Proposition 47 and 64. She has addressed the racial inequities in the past implementation of the criminal justice system and has worked to restore trust in our community by apologizing and accepting responsibility. She has worked collaboratively with the community to re-store trust and accountability.
Verber Salazar is recognized as a leader in the national dialogue in regards to Officer Involved Critical Incidents. Through her innovation, many Counties across the Country look to her policies and practices. She has conducted extensive work with the Stanford School of Law in pioneering substantive changes as to how officer involved fatalities are investigated and prosecuted. This unique partnership initiated an open dialog with the communities she serves and has been transformative for San Joaquin County.
She is an executive member of the Community Correction Partnership overseeing the management and implementation of a $22 million dollar allocation across the county as required by AB-109, a public safety re-alignment program that shifts criminal justice responsibilities for certain offenders from the state prisons to local county sheriffs, probation departments and superior courts.
Her dedication to the community has long multi-generational roots -- she carries that legacy through a myriad of community engagement programs. She was the Founder of the Empowering Young Women program that developed educational forums on date rape and domestic violence for high school girls and boys. She serves as an active member of the Ready to Work Program, a residential program for the homeless and previously incarcerated members of the county.
She is co-creator of The Beyond Incarceration Program allowing young students to speak with inmates at prisons providing them with honest and real life insights of life behind bars. She is actively engaged with numerous community leaders in addressing the plight of the homeless and mentally ill in developing support systems that improves the quality of life of the growing homeless population in San Joaquin County.
The office was recipient of the 2015-16 Outstanding Law Enforcement Agency presented by the United States Attorney Eastern Division of California. The National Institute for Innovation in Community Law Enforcement selected the office as a member of the Executive Committee on Innovation in Prosecution and Fair and Just Prosecution.
She is married and has three children.
Miriam Lyell has been the Public Defender for San Joaquin County since April of 2016. She has worked for the Public Defender’s Office for over 30 years. As a criminal defense attorney for more than two decades, she has represented clients accused of crimes ranging from simple misdemeanor violations of the law through special circumstance homicide. Ms. Lyell has tried more than 75 jury trial cases and has conducted hundreds of hearings. Ms. Lyell is dedicated to ensuring that Department, including its 50 attorneys, serve the diverse needs of our community and its justice system by furnishing clients whose cases have been entrusted to the office with competent, effective, ethical and zealous advocacy. As Public Defender, she works tirelessly towards aligning and improving reentry efforts in the criminal justice system through rehabilitative philosophies.
Ms. Lyell graduated with a double major in Law and Justice and in Sociology from University of California, Santa Barbara and has a Juris Doctorate in Law from Golden Gate University, School of Law. In addition, Ms. Lyell has served on various boards throughout her career including with the San Joaquin County Bar Association, CCP and San Joaquin County Attorney’s Association. Ms. Lyell is currently a member of California Public Defender’s Association, Chief Defenders, San Joaquin County Bar and Callahan Inn of Court.
Ms. Lyell and her husband live in Stockton and has two children.