Michaela O'Connor Bono

Michaela is a program associate with Vera’s New Orleans office, part of the team working to end money injustice by focusing on ending the use of money bail and conviction fines and fees. Prior to joining Vera, Michaela created and directed Louisiana’s first restorative justice program as an alternative to prosecution for youth. She has worked as a consultant in juvenile justice reform, restorative justice, and diversion programming. Michaela is also a Zen Buddhist priest and teaches Buddhism and meditation inside two maximum-security prisons. She was the faith outreach director for the Unanimous Jury Coalition, which successfully ended the legacy of non-unanimous juries in Louisiana. Michaela serves as a trained mediator for conflicts between police and civilians in New Orleans. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from Loyola University New Orleans.