The Criminal Justice Insider Podcast with Babz Rawls Ivy & Jeff Grant: Guests Scott Semple, Former CT Commissioner of Correction and Alex Frank & John Hart of the Vera Institute of Justice, Fri., May 15, 2020

Please join us on Friday, May 15, 2020, 9 am ET, when Scott Semple, Alex Frank and John Hart of the Vera Institute of Justice will be our guests on the Criminal Justice Insider Podcast with Babz Rawls Ivy & Jeff Grant – The Voice of CT Criminal Justice. Live on WNHH 103.5 FM New Haven, rebroadcast at 5 pm. Live-streamed and podcast 24/7 everywhere, see below. Sponsored by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven – Now More Than Ever.

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Scott Semple was appointed commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Correction in March 2015.  Scott joined the Connecticut Department of Correction as a front line Correction Officer in 1988 at the high security Cheshire Correctional Institution.  During his tenure, he has served the agency in numerous administrative capacities, to include pre-service training coordinator, external and legislative affairs, and warden of the state’s only correctional facility dedicated for men requiring comprehensive treatment services for significant mental illness.   As commissioner, Scott has successfully implemented several performance based and progressive correctional practices designed to support both staff and incarcerated people.  Most notable, they include the Emerging Adult Units known as the TRUE Unit (located in Cheshire) and the WORTH Unit (located in Niantic).  He has also repurposed an existing correctional facility and other specific housing units for specialized populations to provide a therapeutic environment designed to support community reintegration.   Scott has implemented  numerous agency-wide staff wellness initiatives to support, respond and improve policies evolving around the complex and unique needs associated with the health and welfare of correctional professionals and their families. On January 1, 2019, after more than 30-years of service to the agency, Scott retired from public service.  He now provides professional consult through Semple Consulting, LLC  on various criminal justice and correctional related endeavors.



Alex Frank is the Project Director of the Restoring Promise Initiative in Vera’s Center on Youth Justice. Restoring Promise works to disrupt the prison system by centering accountability, healing, hope, and racial equity in prison reform. Alex has a track record of bringing innovation into the field of justice reform. She has spearheaded strategies to engage young adults, impacted families, and system leaders within the intersection of addressing mass incarceration, institutional violence, and restorative justice, through an antiracist lens. Alex works to strategically and collaboratively scale multi-layered projects that include fundraising, policy and practice change, research, and capacity building. In addition, Alex works with formerly and currently incarcerated people to ensure that all efforts and solutions center the resilience, cultural identity and human dignity they deserve.

Prior to joining Vera, Alex was part of the Juvenile Justice Strategy Group at the Annie E. Casey Foundation where she worked to close youth prisons, and to develop the foundation’s national strategy for partnering with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and their families in reform—the people most impacted by the justice system. Alex’s work at the New York City Department of Probation, at the Suffolk County Jail in Boston, as well as her personal experience with the justice system shaped her interests in justice reform.

John Hart, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate who joined Vera Institute’s Restoring Promise Initiative in August 2019. As a part of his role, John focuses on the data collection program and the qualitative research agenda for the initiative.

Prior to joining Restoring Promise, John was a Senior Research Assistant at the University of Maryland, College Park leading research and community projects examining mass incarceration of Black Men as a public health disparity and the re-entry experiences of young, Black fathers from prison into the communities. In addition, John is a clinician and has spent the last few years consulting with various jails and prisons in the D.C. Metropolitan area to provide psychoeducation to those incarcerated on topics such as co-parenting, relationship skills, coping and emotional regulation.

He holds a Ph.D. in Family Science and a M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Maryland, College Park and a B.A from The George Washington University.


The Criminal Justice Insider Podcast with Babz Rawls Ivy and Jeff Grant is broadcast live at 9 am ET on the first and third Friday of each month Sept.-June

From the WNHH 103.5 FM studios in New Haven.
It is rebroadcast on WNHH at 5 pm ET the same day.
Live-Streamed and Podcast available 24/7.

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Season Three Program/Guests List (*formerly incarcerated):

Fri., Sept. 6, 2019: Khalil Cumberbatch*, Chief Strategist at New Yorkers United for Justice
Fri., Sept. 20, 2019: Aaron T. Kinzel*, Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Michigan-Dearborn
Fri., Oct. 4, 2019: Charlie Grady, Outreach Specialist for the FBI CT Community Outreach Program
Fri., Oct. 18, 2019: Michael Kimelman*, Former Hedge Funder and Author of Confessions of a Wall Street Insider: A Cautionary Tale of Rats, Feds, and Banksters
Fri., Nov. 1, 2019: Corey Brinson*, Former Attorney Convicted for a White Collar Crime who is running for Hartford City Council
Fri., Nov. 15, 2019: Cathryn Lavery, Ph.D., Asst. Chair & Graduate Coordinator for the Iona College Criminal Justice Department
Fri., Dec. 6, 2019: “Free Prison Phone Calls” Show, CT Rep. Josh Elliott & Tiheba Bain*
Fri. Dec. 20, 2019: John Hamilton, CEO, Liberation Programs
Fri., Jan. 3, 2020: Reginald Dwayne Betts*, Lawyer, Poet, Lecturer on Mass Incarceration
Fri., Jan. 17, 2020: Serena Ligouri*, Executive Director, New Hour for Women & Children – L.I.
Fri., Feb. 7, 2020: David Garlock*, Program Director, New Person Ministries, Lancaster, PA Fri.,
Feb. 20, 2020: Larry Levine*, Talk Show Host & Criminal Justice Consultant
Fri,. Mar. 6, 2020, Hans Hallundbaek, Interfaith Prison Partnership
Fri., Mar. 20, 2020: Tiheba Bain*, Women’s Incarceration Advocate
Fri., April 3, 2020: Rev. Dr. Harold Dean Trulear*, Executive Director, Healing Communities Prison Ministry
Thurs., Apr. 16, 2020, 6:30 pm: Live at Iona College, New Rochelle, NY with Special Guests
Fri., April 17, 2020: Inaugural Inductees* of CT Hall of Change with Charlie Grady, Founder
Fri., May 3, 2020: Eilene Zimmerman, Author of “Smacked: A Story of White Collar Ambition, Addiction and Tragedy”.
Fri., May 15, 2020: Scott Semple, Alex Frank & John Hart of the Vera Institute of Justice
Fri., June 5, 2020: Children of Incarcerated Parents Show with Aileen Keays and Melissa Tanis