Hayne Yoon Named Government Affairs Director at Vera Institute of Justice

New York, NY – The Vera Institute of Justice has named Hayne Yoon as government affairs director. Yoon most recently served as counsel to U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, advising on judiciary and education issues. At Vera, Yoon will work with the president, senior leadership, and colleagues throughout the Institute to lead its national policy work.

Yoon joins Vera as increasingly clear and urgent bipartisan calls for justice reform come from Congress, the White House, and federal agencies. Vera is responding to this call by serving as a resource to change-makers through its publications, testimony at congressional briefings, and events, among other public-facing efforts. Vera is also actively working with jurisdictions across the country to pilot changes at all levels of government, including  reducing the use of local jails—the “front door” to mass incarceration; improving conditions of confinement, particularly by reducing states’ reliance on solitary confinement and improving access to higher education for incarcerated people; improving our juvenile justice system; and enhancing police-community relationships in an increasingly diverse nation.

“Hayne’s history of advancing legislative action on criminal justice for a range of issues is made even more meaningful by her clear passion for the issues we work on,” said Vera President Nicholas Turner. “Her proven dedication to ensuring justice and dignity for people who are vulnerable, combined with a deep understanding of how to achieve consensus, makes her a vital asset to Vera’s work at this time.”

Prior to her role at the office of Senator Murphy, Yoon was detailed by the Federal Public Defender’s office to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, where she advised Chairman and Assistant Majority Leader Senator Richard Durbin on issues of juvenile justice and judicial ethics. Before working in Congress, Yoon spent nearly 10 years in Los Angeles first as a deputy public defender, and later as a deputy federal public defender.

“At this time of unprecedented momentum towards reform, it's a privilege to be joining Vera, which I have known as a vital resource and leader in justice policy,” Yoon said. “I'm eager to help leaders in Washington be better informed about Vera’s expertise so we can work efficiently to tackle the most pressing injustices we face today.”

Yoon holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Chicago and a JD from the New York University School of Law.

Vera opened its Washington, DC office in 2005 to serve as a headquarters for the Commission on Safety & Abuse in America’s Prisons. Since June 2006, when the commission published its landmark report Confronting Confinement, the mission of Vera’s DC office has broadened to include projects related to various areas of Vera’s work, ranging from corrections, to juvenile justice, to victimization and safety. The DC office is fully incorporated into Vera’s broader work, putting the resources of the Institute—technical assistance, research, communications, and demonstration projects—at the disposal of partners and legislators located in or connected to the nation’s capital.