Alanah Odoms, leading civil rights attorney and the first African American woman to be named executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. Odoms is committed to upholding the powerful organizational legacy of staunch defense of the Constitution and Bill of rights, with the new charge to apply a lens of racial and gender justice to all of the affiliate’s work. She is committed to reducing mass incarceration and fighting racial injustice in Louisiana, as well as expanding the ACLU’s collaboration with historically marginalized communities. Initiatives under her leadership include: a comprehensive statewide data assessment of Louisiana’s prolific pretrial injustice system, and a campaign to end private prison driven immigrant detention.
Odoms previously served as the director of the division of children and families and deputy general counsel of the Louisiana Supreme Court. Odoms also worked as special counsel to Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice, Bernette J. Johnson. Her work has included advocacy to support the establishment of a truancy center in Orleans Parish, the campaign to end indiscriminate shackling of juveniles in court, and the revision of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Articles on post conviction relief. Alanah also co-chaired the statewide effort to reduce incarceration of children through the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI).
In 2016, Odoms was appointed to serve as special counsel to the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force, a bipartisan team of experts that developed the policy recommendations behind Louisiana’s historic package of criminal justice reforms passed the following year. Recognizing the need to have directly impacted community members at the table, she was the architect of a series of listening sessions which allowed Louisiana citizens to address members of the task force. In just one year, Louisiana has saved 12.2M and no longer holds the title of top incarcerator in the world.
In July 2018, Alanah graduated from the prestigious Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, a partnership between the George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, and George Bush presidential centers. She is one of 59 national up- and-coming leaders recognized for her commitment to solving some of our nation’s most pressing problems.
Alanah has served as an Adjunct Professor at Tulane Law School. Odoms is a graduate of Rutgers School of Law- Newark and a Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers College in New Jersey.