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.
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.
Brittany Kane is a Program Coordinator at the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy. Brittany specifically coordinates the Connecticut Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative (CT CIP), as well as providing assistance to the 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.
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.
Kaitlyn Labbie ‘19 is a senior at Central Connecticut State University majoring in Sociology with a minor in Political Science. She is joining the IMRP team and will be working with the CT Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative and will be specifically researching the CIP to Foster Care pipeline. In her free time, she serves as a Guardian Ad Litem for Children in Placement, advocating on behalf of children in foster care and is also the founder and President of the CCSU Sociology Club. Kaitlyn plans on pursuing her MSW post-graduation this fall.
Danielle Mirek ’21 is a sophomore at Central Connecticut State University majoring in Sociology with a minor in Psychological Science. She is joining the IMRP team and will be working with CTCIP and be specifically researching the CIP cycle of poverty and the implementation & outcomes of CIP Bill of Rights across the country.
In her free time, Danielle works as a supervisor at Elmwood Community Center in West Hartford and at a retirement community in Manchester – Arbors of Hop Brook.
Marlene Torres ’19 is a senior at Central Connecticut State University majoring in Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She is joining the IMRP team and will be working with the CT Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative to specifically research the physical and mental health outcomes of former and currently incarcerated persons and CIP, as well as the demographics of the incarcerated population v. the U.S. population. Marlene is interested in pursuing a profession in the Judicial Branch, such as a Probation Officer, that will allow her to provide meaningful services to individuals re-entering the community.
In her free time, Marlene serves as a foster parent to a CIP who is 12 years old and whose father is currently incarcerated. She also works full time in customer service for a local oil company.