Whitney Tymas Named Director of Prosecution and Racial Justice Program

NEW YORK—The Vera Institute of Justice has named Whitney Tymas as director of its Prosecution and Racial Justice Program(PRJ). PRJ is a groundbreaking Vera initiative that is piloting internal assessment and management procedures to help chief prosecutors identify evidence of possible racial or ethnic bias in how their offices make decisions and respond appropriately when it is found. Since its inception, the project has worked with district attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Charlotte, North Carolina, and San Diego, California.

Tymas comes to Vera from the National District Attorneys Association, where she ran two national projects—the Gun and Gang Violence Prosecution Program and the Southwest Border Crime program—to deliver training, support, and technical assistance to prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and others on innovative approaches to public safety.

Beginning as a public defender with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem—a Vera spin-off—Tymas practiced law for close to 20 years, including at the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York, and as prosecutor for eight years in Richmond, Virginia, where she eventually served as chief deputy commonwealth’s attorney.

"Whitney Tymas brings an impressive breadth of knowledge and a wealth of experience in the prosecutorial process to Vera’s Prosecution and Racial Justice program,” said Vera's director, Michael Jacobson, “We are delighted that she has joined Vera to lead PRJ.”
“Through PRJ, Vera is pioneering efforts to advance racial fairness and accountability in our criminal justice system,” said Tymas. “I am honored to be a part of this initiative.”

Tymas received her B.A. from Barnard College and her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Snow Scholar. She succeeds Wayne McKenzie, who left Vera to become general counsel to the New York City Department of Probation.