Aileen Keays, M.S., is the Project Manager for the Children with Incarcerated Parents (CIP) Initiative at the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy (IMRP). As a Project Manager, Ms. Keays works closely with leaders of Connecticut’s criminal justice agencies, community members, not-for-profits, advocates and legislators to promote effective public policy through research, consultation, project management and program evaluation.
Since 2008, Ms. Keays has managed the Institute’s CIP Initiative, overseeing several projects related to parental incarceration. This includes supervising the delivery of services to children and families dealing with parental incarceration, as well as the evaluation of these services to determine their effectiveness in alleviating negative consequences of parental incarceration while enhancing the youths’ and families’ positive attributes. In addition, Ms. Keays provides technical assistance to the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System which, through statutory charge, is “dedicated to eliminating racial and ethnic disparity in the criminal justice system.” Furthermore, during 2011 to 2013, Ms. Keays was a member of the Connecticut Judicial Branch Access to Justice Commission that seeks to support and pursue the Judicial Branch’s goal of providing equal access to justice in Connecticut’s criminal justice system.
Previous to her employment with the IMRP, Ms. Keays worked at the University of New Haven’s Crime Victim Study Center while earning her Masters degree in Forensic Science with a concentration in Advanced Investigation. Prior to attending graduate school, Ms. Keays worked in the social services field in various capacities, including managing a group home for developmentally disabled adults and another for mentally ill adults. She also worked as a Foster Care Social Worker in Detroit, Michigan as a well as Youth Services Officer at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School. Ms. Keays completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice at the University of Connecticut.
In spite of Ms. Keays’s extensive involvement working on behalf of and with those affected by incarceration, she found herself completely unprepared for the effects of having a loved one incarcerated when it encroached into her life. The experience will forever impact her work for, and with, those affected by incarceration.
Brittany Kane is the Project Coordinator/Program Administrator at the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy or the Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative (CTCIP) and also provides assistance to the other various projects executed by IMRP
Prior to joining IMRP, Brittany worked in state government as a legislative aide to the House Chair of Appropriations and as clerk of the Appropriations Committee at the Connecticut General Assembly. Brittany also served in federal government as an executive assistant in the U.S. Senate and briefly ventured into the non-profit sector as a clinician/care coordinator at a Massachusetts group home that cared for DCF-mandated adolescent females.
Through her professional experiences, Brittany realized that the many issues impacting the constituents and individuals she worked with at a direct level needed to be addressed through advocacy and legislation at a macro level. At the IMRP, Brittany is able to use her knowledge of the criminal justice system and legislative process, as well as her passion for assisting others in bettering their lives, to provide research, assistance and program coordination to implement reform recommendations and positive change in the criminal justice system.
Brittany obtained a Master’s degree in Social Work concentrating in Policy Practice from the UConn School of Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice from Salve Regina University.
Andrew Clark is the Director of the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy (IMRP) at Central Connecticut State University. Mr. Clark is currently head of the IMRP project team administering competitive grants that aim to provide positive interventions for children of incarcerated parents. In addition, Mr. Clark is Acting Executive Director of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission, which seeks to review current and proposed legislation to promote effective, balanced, and responsible criminal sentencing policies. He is also Project Director for a grant from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration that is being utilized to implement the state’s Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Law. This project has been titled the Racial Profiling Prohibition Project. Mr. Clark is also assisting in the implementation of the Results First Initiative in CT.
Prior to coming to CCSU, Mr. Clark worked at the Connecticut General Assembly from 1999-2005. He served as clerk of the Appropriations and Transportation Committees, and deputy clerk of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee.
Amjad Khan is a Financial Analyst at the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy (IMRP) at Central Connecticut State University. Mr. Khan assists with the financial administration of IMRP grants, contracts and legislative appropriations. Additionally, Mr. Khan oversees data management and entry for the Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative.
Mr. Khan is originally from Tanzania, East Africa and came to the United States for university. Before graduating from CCSU in 2005, Mr. Khan worked as a Student Worker at CCSU’s Grants Office, which maintains revenue and expenditure records for federal, state and local grants and prepares financial reports and statements for all external grant awards. After completing his Bachelors degree, Mr. Khan went on to work for a Manufacturing Company in Istanbul, Turkey and returned to the United States as a permanent resident in October 2008.
James M. Conway, PhD, is a professor of Psychological Science at Central Connecticut State University. He has been head of the evaluation team for the IMRP’s Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative since 2008, evaluating a variety of interventions for CIP. His research is also focused on children of incarcerated parents, e.g., on community-level factors affecting children and families.
Dr. Conway has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from SUNY Binghamton and received his PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Connecticut. He has been on the faculty at CCSU since 1998, and prior to that was on the Psychology faculty at Seton Hall University for six years.
Danielle Mirek ’21 s a junior at Central Connecticut State University majoring in Sociology with a minor in Psychological Science. She has joined the IMRP team to assist in the day-to-day activities and operations of the CT Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative (CTCIP).
Taylor Caldwell is a graduate student working towards her Master’s in Public Administration, at the University of Connecticut (UConn). Under the supervision of Ken Barone, Taylor is interning with the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition (CTRP). The CTRP project utilizes research and community outreach to investigate potential law enforcement disparities and racial profiling in Connecticut. The project is sponsored by the Institute for Municipal Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University. Taylor is a local New Britain resident and has a personal vested interest in social justice and advocacy. Taylor has previous experience in education and teaching from a human rights framework. Taylor has interned as a student teacher at Manchester High School with the Human Rights Education and Deliberation Project. Taylor also interned in Ecuador for 8 weeks during the summer of 2018 with Social Entrepreneur Corp, helping generate sustainable business models for Ecuadorian communities seeking to use their commercial revenue to finance change in their communities.
Samantha Hawes is a MSW student at Sacred Heart University. She will be assisting IMRP’s CT Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative (CTCIP). Samantha has experience working with various populations in the mental health field, including adults with developmental disabilities and children and families in various settings. Samantha currently serves as owner and program director of a CT-operated agency that provides direct services to children and families, including supervised visitation, therapeutic support, support staff, and temporary care. Samantha hopes to further continue learning and growing through her work at the Institute, as well as bringing her professional and personal insight to CTCIP.
Melissa Keilty is an MSW student at the UConn School of Social Work with a concentration in Policy. She has joined IMRP to support the Connecticut Children With Incarcerated Parents Initiative. Melissa has previous policy and advocacy experience interning with the National Association of Social Workers CT Chapter and the AIDS Project of Greater Danbury. In her free time, Melissa co-chairs the Students for Environmental Justice committee at UConn as well as is a member of the Education and Legislative Action Network committee at the NASW.