Zoë Towns

Executive Director

Zoë launched the criminal justice reform portfolio at FWD.us in 2017 including defining its advocacy, policy, research, and philanthropic agenda. In her years since, Zoë has overseen administrative, ballot, electoral, and legislative criminal justice reform campaigns in states across the country and at the federal level.

Before joining FWD.us, Zoë was the Criminal Justice Project Director at the Pew Charitable Trusts where she collaborated with state leaders, administrators, practitioners and advocates on legislative reforms to reduce prison populations in Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, Louisiana, and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, Zoë was the inaugural director of The Bronx Freedom Fund, which housed a pioneering bail fund in the South Bronx providing relief to people facing criminal charges and a bond fund supporting immigrants in deportation proceedings.

Zoë has a B.A. in ethnic studies and creative writing from Columbia University where she was Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellow and a masters in criminal justice policy from King’s College London where she was a Fulbright Scholar. Most recently, she was a Distinguished Teaching Fellow at Princeton University’s African American Studies Department. Zoë sits on the advisory boards of One for Justice, Recidiviz, Center for Just Journalism, and on the board of directors for Civil Rights Corps.