Anna Pomper, planner with the Operations Department, has been with the Center for Court Innovation for three years. She developed an interest in justice reform as a college student while creating a mentorship program grounded in transformative justice practices at a local middle school.
Before joining the Center, Anna worked at the D.C. Public Defenders Service in their Special Litigation Division, where she focused on re-sentencing cases for clients who had been tried as adults when they were juveniles. “After doing direct service work and seeing the way the criminal justice system impacted the students and clients I worked with, I wanted to be involved with an organization that looked to reform on a systemic level while retaining roots in direct service work,” she says of her decision to work at the Center.
“This is a very challenging field where we are often working with system actors and stakeholders who sometimes hold vastly different perspectives than we do. Something that has surprised me is that persistence can pay off—being consistent and clear in your messaging, precise with your reasoning, and leveraging relationships sometimes means you can win important victories you might have thought would be difficult or impossible.”
In her current role, Anna supports early diversion programming, including Project Reset, Bronx HOPE, and the Driver Accountability Program. “Criminal justice reform is important because the justice system’s problems run tangent and intersectional to many of the continuing failures of our country; to provide adequate social services, to address long-standing racism, socio-economic inequality, and other deep-seated biases and inequities, to provide equal access to opportunity and education.”
The opportunity to work with so many smart and passionate people who care so much about working to address systemic harm and thinking through new ideas of justice, keeping people first throughout, this is what motivates me. I also wanted to be a part of an organization unafraid to look at it’s work critically and look to improve and be accountable to the communities it served.
Anna explains that, “criminal justice reform is about people: how we treat each other, how we address harm when it’s caused—by a person or a system—and how we can work towards healing or creating accountability processes without perpetuating a cycle of harm as we know the traditional system does.”
“Transforming justice together means not being afraid to ask critical questions of our work and the criminal justice system; and answer them in collaboration with communities. It means confronting racism and other inequities in our work and in the criminal justice system. It also means looking at how underlying social inequities contribute to criminal justice system involvement and addressing those inequities.”
Originally from Washington, DC, Anna is a big Nats and Mystics fan.