Laurel Kaufer, JD, Co-founder of Prison of Peace, was honored by California Lawyer Magazine as a California Attorney of the Year in 2012 for this work. A Mediator and Arbitrator in Los Angeles, CA, Laurel transitioned from litigation to full-time neutral practice in 1995. With a peer rating of AV Preeminent, she has been recognized as one of Southern California's "Best Lawyers" in the field of Alternate Dispute Resolution since 2010 by U.S. News & World Report.
Laurel is former chair of the Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution of the California State Bar Association, a Diplomat of both the California and National Academies of Distinguished Neutrals, is Adjunct Faculty at Pepperdine School of Law, with full responsibility for the Criminal Justice Dispute Resolution Practicum, and teaches Mediation at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Kaufer served for years on the Board of the Southern California Mediation Association, as well as numerous other organizations.
Douglas E. Noll, JD, MA, co-founder of Prison of Peace, left a successful career as a trial lawyer to become a peacemaker. His calling is to serve humanity, and he executes his calling at many levels. He is an award-winning author, teacher, and trainer. He is a highly experienced mediator. Doug’s work carries him from international work to helping people resolve deep interpersonal and ideological conflicts. He sits on many boards, including Mediators Beyond Borders, an international NGO accredited to the United Nations.
Like Laurel, Doug is peer-rated as AV Preeminent, and was honored as a California Lawyer of the Year. Doug was honored as Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America, was named as an Encore Fellow in 2014 by encore.org, and was honored with the 2011 Outstanding Book Award by the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution. Doug is an adjunct faculty member of the San Joaquin College of Law and adjunct faculty member of the Pepperdine School of Law Straus Institute. He also serves as a core faculty member of the American Institute of Mediation and has several of his courses in negotiation and deep, empathic listening available online. Doug is a sought-after speaker and workshop presenter in negotiation, mediation, leadership, and problem-solving skills.
Nicole Coleman is the Program Director for Prison of Peace. While pursuing her B.S. in Criminology & Criminal Justice Studies from the University of Arizona, Nicole developed a strong interest in criminal justice reform and rehabilitation efforts during incarceration. She went on to work with incarcerated men and women at all stages, including performing and assessing defendant interviews at the intake unit of the Pima County Adult Detention Center to aid the presiding judge in his decision during the defendant’s initial hearing with the Pima County Superior Courts. Nicole was also the Program Assistant for Serving Time, a documentary based on a culinary arts program in Chicago’s Cook County Jail, during which she managed the relationships between Serving Time LLC and all detainees involved in the program, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department and the Cook County Public Defender’s office. She is also a legal reporter for Wild About Trial, covering several of the most high profile criminal trials around the country, including the murder trials of Colorado movie theater massacre gunman James Holmes and “American Sniper” killer Eddie Ray Routh.
Shanae Polk is Director of Alumni Programs for Prison of Peace. At the age of 19, Shanae was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. While incarcerated, she realized the need to turn her life around and dedicated herself to that end. By the time she earned parole in 2015, she was the lead trainer for Prison of Peace at California Institution for Women. During her 17 years in prison she earned a college degree, a California state license as a substance abuse counselor, and certificates as a Peacemaker and Mediator through Prison of Peace. She has since been actively dedicated to giving back to the greater Los Angeles community. In addition to her work with Prison of Peace, Shanae is the Program Director at 2nd Call, a community based organization designed to assist in the personal development of high-risk individuals.
Dimitra Gavriil is the Director of European Programs for Prison of Peace. Dimitra holds a JD and a LLM in EU Law from the University of Strasbourg, France. A lawyer with the Athens Bar Association since 1998, Dimitra became a full time conflict resolution practitioner in 2012. Her practice includes mediation, consulting and coaching as well as training in ADR methods and Restorative Practices within various settings that extend from businesses to schools to prisons. Dimitra is a JAMS Weinstein International Fellow, a co-founder and a member of several ADR related organizations in Greece and internationally. As of late 2016, Dimitra began implementing the Prison of Peace Program in Greek Prisons.
She is fluent in Greek, French and English
Shadeequa Smith is the Director of Training for Prison of Peace. With an interest in the justice system since a young child, after serving in the United States Air Force, she pursued a course of study in both Criminal Justice and Law with an emphasis on Criminal Law. During this time, she developed a keen interest in alternatives to current justice system practices and volunteered as an intern with the Third Circuit Drug Court in Oxford, Mississippi. After completing law school at the University of Mississippi, Shadeequa went on to become a Federal Probation Officer in the Northern District of California (NDCA) where she worked with formerly incarcerated individuals who were on Post Conviction Supervision. As a supervision officer, Shadeequa was able to work with clients using programming rooted in Evidence Based Practices. That work included Case Manager for the NDCA Oakland Re-Entry Court, Facilitator for the NDCA employment readiness program (S.E.E.D.S), and Co-Facilitator for the Courage to Change Cognitive Based Therapy Program. She also worked as a liaison between her probation office and the GEOCare Residential Re-entry Centers servicing that office. Shadeequa is dedicated to Peacemaking and Restorative Practices and earned a Master of Laws in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution in May 2018.
Elizabeth Khersonsky is an Administrative Assistant for Prison of Peace. Currently she is working towards a bachelors degree in political science with an emphasis in criminal justice. Elizabeth secured a year long internship with renowned criminal defense attorney Alison Triessl while still an undergraduate, where she contributed daily to the client intake, legal research, and trial preparation of the practice. After experiencing criminal law first hand, Elizabeth discovered her passion for criminal justice and learning about the United States criminal justice system. She has continued to pursue that passion with Prison of Peace.
The personal generosity and early participation of the following professionals in 2010 assisted our team in establishing the unshakable foundation of Prison of Peace.
Stacey Marcel, Attorney at Law/Mediator, New Orleans, Louisiana
James Forkner, Corporate Trainer/Ridge Training, San Francisco, California
Barbara “Zellda” Zelly, Corporate Trainer/Ridge Training, Cleveland, Ohio