Cheryl Wilkins


Cheryl is the Associate Director of the Criminal Justice Initiative: Supporting Children, Families, and Communities (CJI), where she works with teens who have an incarcerated parent, and the Senior Director of Education and Programs at Columbia University’s Center for Justice where her work is committed to reducing the nation’s reliance on incarceration, developing new  approaches to safety and justice, and participating in the national and global conversation around developing effective criminal justice policy.


In addition to her work at CJI, Cheryl Wilkins is a staff associate at the Center for Institutional and Social Change (CISC). Her work at CISC is focused on building the collective impact of the New York Reentry Education Network, a collaboration of community-based organizations, city and state government agencies, and institutions of higher education. The mission is to improve educational access and success for people with criminal justice records and to make education a core component of reentry policy and practice. 

Cheryl is also an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work and has been instrumental in developing the Justice in Education Prison Program and Women Transcending. Cheryl sits on the board of the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison, the Community Collaborative Research Board at Columbia University, NoVo’s Women’s Building Advisory Circle, the Fortune Society, and serves as a key partner with the Women & Justice Project. She is the recipient of the Brian Fischer Award, Davis Putter Scholarship, the Sister Mary Nerney Visionary Award and the Citizens Against Recidivism Award.