The ACLU of Kentucky Smart Justice Advocates are a unified group of diverse people who work boldly to inspire change, relying on values of hope and integrity to advance the fight for freedom and equality for all those impacted by the criminal legal system.


We are people who have experienced incarceration. We are the children of parents who experienced incarceration. We are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and friends. We are LGBTQ, trans, non-binary, Black, white, Brown, in long-term recovery, and just starting our recovery journey. We are Kentuckians.

What we do:

Our work is led by Kentuckians affected by the criminal legal system and guided by ACLU of Kentucky organizers. There are four organizers who work in different regions of Kentucky to build deep and sustained connections with the communities in their region. 

We work on policy solutions to reform Kentucky’s unjust criminal legal system. We meet monthly to build leadership skills and analyze Kentucky’s political landscape. We also:

  • Share our stories directly with legislators in Frankfort
  • Testify in front of legislative committees in Frankfort
  • Present at and attend conferences, convenings, panel discussions, film screenings, and more
  • Table at events to spread the word and engage more people


We do this because we believe all people deserve dignity and respect. We do this because we know recovery is real and possible.

“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

- Bryan Stevenson, Equal Justice Initiative

Get involved:

Find a Smart Justice Advocates event on our events page here or contact the organizer in your region to learn more. 

Join us in Frankfort:

Join other Smart Justice Advocates in Frankfort to meet with legislators and promote justice reform in Kentucky. Email ACLU-KY Smart Justice Organizing Coordinator Marcus Jackson to learn more.

Restoration of voting rights:

Do you have a past felony conviction? See if your voting rights have been restored, register to vote, and more here.


Meet the Regional Organizers

Kristia Miller

Kristia works in northern and north eastern Kentucky. Contact Kristia at

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Marcus Jackson

Marcus is the organizing coordinator and works in Fayette, Jefferson, and Scott Counties. Contact Marcus at

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Brandon Thomas

Brandon works in southern and eastern Kentucky. Contact Brandon at

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Gary Jackson

Gary Jackson works in western Kentucky. Contact Gary at

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