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Virginia B. Ryan named to new position of Justice System Administrator at OPSO


Virginia B. Ryan, Justice System Administrator at OPSO

NEW ORLEANS - 07-17-2017

Position made possible by MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge grant aimed at reducing jail population

Virginia B. Ryan has been named Justice System Administrator for the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office, effective July 17, 2017.

Ryan joins OPSO from the Orleans Public Defenders office where she served for seven years, most recently as deputy supervisor of the OPD's Client Service Division. In that position, she was responsible for recruiting, training and supervising client advocates and a large number of fellows, interns and volunteers who supported a staff of more than 50 attorneys. Previously, she served as OPD's medical and mental health coordinator.

The selection of Ryan as Justice System Administrator fulfills a key provision of the MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge grant. In April 2016, the MacArthur Foundation awarded the City of New Orleans $1.5 million to implement a plan to reduce the jail population 21 percent by mid-2019 as well as reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system.

In her new position at OPSO, Ryan is responsible for identifying detainees who may be safely released, determining appropriate housing for detainees who exceed the capacity of the Orleans Justice Center, and facilitating in court matters that have been unduly delayed. Ryan will report to Compliance Director Gary Maynard.

Director Maynard said, "We're pleased to have someone with Virginia's experience join our team. She has a strong working relationship with our criminal justice partners, so we anticipate that she will have an immediate impact on our ability to navigate cases through the criminal justice system more efficiently and more equitably."

Going forward, Ryan will coordinate with criminal justice partners on processes to improve the administration of cases. She will also serve on the Jail Population Management Subcommittee, which provides oversight and accountability for the city's jail population reduction plan.

City of New Orleans Criminal Justice Commissioner Calvin Johnson said, "Since 2010, we have reduced the jail population by more than 50 percent. Through the Safety and Justice Challenge, we've set a goal to reduce the jail population by 21 percent by mid-2019. Bringing on a Justice System Administrator is another critical step toward right-sizing New Orleans' jail population. For too long, we have seen lower risk defendants remain in jail on bond they cannot afford, and cases get delayed because of the complexity of the system. Ryan brings dedication and significant experience to a role that will help us reverse our long history of over-detention."

Ryan joined the Orleans Public Defenders Office in 2010 as a client advocate. Prior to that, she was an advocate at Resurrection After Exoneration, a New Orleans-based non-profit that works with people wrongfully convicted and formerly on death row. She also interned at the Mental Health Court at the District of Columbia Superior Court.

Ryan earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Loyola University, New Orleans.

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