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Policy Advisor for Reform Initiatives

Sophia Manuel | Policy Advisor for Reform Initiatives

Sophia Manuel is the Policy Advisor for Reform Initiatives. She identifies and implements reforms at IDOC, managing both multi-agency and internal initiatives. She works with IDOC leaders, as well as (formerly) incarcerated individuals and other stakeholders and experts, to identify opportunities for agency reform.

Prior to joining IDOC, Ms. Manuel worked for five years at READI Chicago, a gun violence prevention program of Heartland Alliance. There, she led the design and management of reentry initiatives to bring programming to men who were at the highest risk for gun violence involvement and were exiting incarceration. Ms. Manuel also worked from 2013 to 2015 as an investigator of police misconduct with the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board from 2013 to 2015.

Following her time in NYC, Ms. Manuel moved to Chicago to study social work and public policy. Her social work field placements included Mandel Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Chicago School of Law, where she worked on mitigation packets and reentry planning, and Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC), where she provided assessment and reentry case planning inside Cook County Jail. She spent a summer with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, assisting in program design for people exiting jail with mental illness or opioid use disorder.

Ms. Manuel earned a bachelor’s degree in Development Studies from Brown University and master’s degrees in social work and public policy from the University of Chicago.