Andrew carries many titles: husband, father, college graduate, advocate, and nonprofit leader. But it was not that long ago when he carried the label “juvenile lifer.”
In June 2016, Andrew became the first juvenile lifer in Louisiana to be paroled following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Miller and Montgomery decisions that prohibited the mandatory sentencing of children to life without parole. It was clear that he was not the same 15-year-old who went to prison in 1997. While incarcerated Andrew completed numerous programs and college courses, served as a leader in multiple prisoner organizations, and taught self-help and reentry classes.
He co-founded Louisiana Parole Project in August 2016 to provide advocacy and reentry support to men and women who were sentenced to life or other extreme sentences and deserving of redemption. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its scope to also offer direct legal representation, promote justice reforms, and change the narrative around second chances. Andrew earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology from Louisiana State University and completed his Master of Criminology and Justice from Loyola University New Orleans. He is also a 2022 Galaxy Gives fellow, a 2022 Represent Justice Ambassador, and a member of the National Life Without Parole Leadership Council.
An award-winning journalist, Kerry’s path began as a communication and journalism major at LSU and Nicholls State University where he cut his teeth in both print and radio news. He began working with Parole Project in 2017 as a volunteer to assist with media relations. He joined the staff as communications director in January 2018 and was named deputy director in July of that year.
Kerry was chosen as a Represent Justice Ambassador in 2019. The national organization turns stories of hope and redemption into action for justice reform. Kerry continues to produce as a freelance journalist. In 2019, he was a contributing author on “The Meaning of Life,” a book about the nation’s overuse of life without parole sentences.
In April 1990, Kerry was sentenced to life in prison for a crime he, his family, the victim’s family, and the investigating detective maintained he did not commit. Three days before Christmas 2016, Governor John Bel Edwards signed his commutation recommendation and Kerry was immediately released.
Five years into his incarceration he was hired as a staff writer for the nationally-acclaimed Angolite magazine and was named editor in 2001. Under his direction, the magazine’s reporting on the death penalty earned national recognition with the Thurgood Marshall Journalism Award in 2007. In 2011, Kerry won the PASS Award for Journalism (now called the Media for a Just Society Award) from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for the magazine’s coverage of juvenile life without parole sentences. The magazine also won three APEX Awards of Excellence for Magazine and Journal Writing and was a finalist for several other national journalism awards. Kerry’s 2011-2012 three-part series on the history of women in the Louisiana penal system received critical acclaim. Taking on subjects like human trafficking; aging, Alzheimer’s and dementia in prison; sentencing; pardons and parole policy; and more, the magazine became a resource for many top criminal justice and law programs in the country.
Kelly Garrett has actively advocated for criminal justice reform and restorative justice in Louisiana, working with various organizations within local communities and policy leaders to affect change. Her commitment to reform and restorative justice stems from her experiences working with formerly incarcerated people and loved ones.
Prior to joining Parole Project, Kelly was a policy coordinator with VOTE (Voice of the Experienced) where she worked to pass key legislation aimed at reducing Louisiana’s incarceration rate, removing barriers to successful reentry, and protecting basic human and civil rights of those who are currently and formerly incarcerated.
As a loved one of an incarcerated person, Kelly understands the importance of support during and after incarceration. Having helped prepare her fiancé for clemency and parole hearings, she has an intimate knowledge of the parole and pardon process.
Kelly is a graduate of LSU and brings extensive corporate and business experience to her role as deputy director of client services. She is motivated by each client to help the next man or woman reach their full potential after incarceration.
Lloyd Jarrow is a former client who joined Parole Project’s staff in July 2021 as a reentry specialist. Arrested two months after his 17th birthday and subsequently sentenced to life in prison, Lloyd was granted parole in 2019 after being incarcerated for 25 years. He is one of the thousands nationally who were sentenced to die in prison for offenses committed as children, but were given second chance opportunities when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life without parole for persons under age 18 was unconstitutional and that they should have a “meaningful opportunity for release.”
When he entered prison, Lloyd was reading and writing at a fourth-grade level. But the shy, insecure boy whose primary youth education was shaped in the streets of his crime and drug-plagued neighborhood, transformed himself through a fierce determination. He refused to let his circumstances define the person he wanted to be and knew he could be. Today, Lloyd is an advocate for second chances through his work with Parole Project and as part of the Nantucket Project’s American Neighbor documentary “Courageous Conversation.”
Indelibly shaped by what he calls the most important experience of his incarceration, providing end-of-life care to patients in the prison hospital as a hospice volunteer, Lloyd developed a deep capacity for empathy and gratitude that carries over into his work with the men and women he helps as they rebuild their lives.
“Being a reentry specialist with Parole Project is the best job that I have ever had. Helping others is the ultimate life purpose.”
Christi Cheramie, a former Parole Project client, was one of the more than 300 Louisiana juvenile lifers. She was convicted at age 16 and sentenced to life in prison before the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated mandatory life without parole for children saying that they must be given a meaningful opportunity for release.
While at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, Christi developed a reputation for learning and leadership. She focused on education and personal development, earning six distinct horticulture certifications, including landscape contractor, before becoming a horticulture tutor/instructor and giving back to help others.
She was granted parole in January 2019 after serving 25 years. Christi completed Parole Project’s residential intensive reintegration program before she began working for one of the largest plant and landscape nurseries in Baton Rouge. She joined Parole Project in August 2019 as a reentry specialist working with our clients to help them navigate the process of life after prison.
Christi sees her incarceration experience as a life-refining process and is grateful to be in a position to be a symbol of hope and redemption to those who are still incarcerated.
Louisiana Parole Project Community Engagement Coordinator Matthew Pineda brings a special kind of enthusiasm to work with him each day, harboring high hopes and great expectations for the clients he assists with their transition from prison to modern society.
It is a journey he knows well, having served 35 years on a life sentence that he received at age 16. While in prison Matthew earned over 80 credit hours in a specialized business degree program through Ohio University and International Correspondence Schools. He also completed vocational certifications in welding and residential carpentry.
Matthew earned a Distinguished Toastmaster designation from Toastmasters International and spent 12 years as a member of Jaycees receiving its highest honor given to a member, a JCI (Junior Chamber International) Senatorship granting him a lifetime membership. He served as a 12-step study group facilitator, is a certified substance abuse peer counselor for Celebrate Recovery, and is an RCIA Catholic Catechism facilitator.
He attributes his growth, maturity, and his freedom to his faith in God. With a strong religious upbringing and lots of support from his family during his incarceration, Matthew believes that none of his accomplishments and achievements would be possible had it not been for his God-given talents and experiences inside the Department of Corrections.
Parole Project Legal Director Jill Pasquarella is a state and national leader in ending juvenile life without parole and other long sentences for youth. She has led efforts in Louisiana to provide release mechanisms for children serving extreme sentences.
Prior to joining Parole Project, Jill was the director of the Campaign to End Extreme Sentences for Youth at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights and a supervising attorney at the Orleans Public Defenders. She is the recipient of the Lucy McGough Juvenile Justice Award from the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys for her work ending life sentences for children.
Jill graduated cum laude from Georgetown Law where she was a member of the Public Interest Law Scholar program. Prior to her legal career, she was a human rights and humanitarian aid professional working in Uganda and Nicaragua. Jill received awards for her international and academic work from Barnard College of Columbia University where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in religion and human rights.
Jane Hogan is an attorney from Hammond, Louisiana who specializes in criminal post-trial procedures that include post-conviction petitions and parole and clemency hearings. She earned her Juris Doctorate from LSU Law Center. After working as a public defender in Lafayette, Louisiana, she joined the LSU Law Center Parole and Reentry Clinic as an adjunct professor and supervising attorney.
Jane is one of the state’s most experienced parole and clemency attorneys, having participated in the representation of approximately 100 clients before the board. She joined Parole Project in 2019.
Ashleigh began her career in reentry and paralegal services as a project coordinator for Reentry Benefiting Families in January 2016. She brings a diverse set of experiences and educational credentials to Parole Project and is well suited to take on the wide variety of duties associated with her position. Beyond administrative oversight, she provides support for intern supervision, community outreach, volunteer relations, and donor campaigns. Ashleigh is also certified to facilitate Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) groups.
An advocate of restorative justice initiatives for victims and offenders, as well as non-carceral solutions to crime, Ashleigh is committed to defending the rights of the formerly incarcerated and providing support, encouragement, and opportunity to those transitioning back into society after prison.
Ashleigh is invested in supporting special populations of the formerly incarcerated in Louisiana including women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, registered citizens, and others who face unique challenges after release. She is exceptionally knowledgeable about the laws surrounding Louisiana’s offender registry and the negative impact the ineffective post-conviction registration scheme has on successful reentry.
She earned a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre from Western Illinois University which led to positions as program director and education coordinator for a performing arts company. There she gained extensive experience in the nonprofit sector. She also has a bachelor’s degree in social work and experience as a drug and alcohol counselor and an intake specialist in a mental health hospital. After her first round of graduate school, Ashleigh began a seven-year stint as a Ph.D. student and adjunct instructor at LSU while simultaneously earning her teaching certificate and working as an educator in both public and private schools.
However, it is Ashleigh’s life experience that led her to a career in reentry services. She not only understands what it means to have your entire life put into the hands of the criminal justice system, but she also knows the power and grace of a second chance.
A Baton Rouge native who lives with her husband and daughter in Mid City, Ashleigh joined the Parole Project staff in January 2018.
Meagan Snedigar earned her Master of Social Work from Louisiana State University. A nontraditional student, she earned her first degree in philosophy and religious studies from LSU in 2013. After some time away from school, she reentered the academic world to explore her passion for helping people. Since then, Meagan has been a community leader advocating for victims of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. In 2018, Meagan was the keynote speaker for the Louisiana Coalition of Domestic Violence and Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault’s Purple and Teal Reception, an event that recognizes domestic and sexual violence survivors and those who work to support them.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in social work from LSU, Meagan accepted an internship with the mental health team at Louisiana State Penitentiary. This experience changed her life and inspired a new passion: helping justice-impacted individuals who have been negatively affected by mass incarceration.
Meagan began working with Parole Project as a student intern in 2021 and became instrumental in developing our social work program and policies. Meagan is committed to giving back to her community and to social justice efforts here in Louisiana. When she is not fighting for the cause, Meagan unwinds by reading books, writing poetry, and watching horror movies.
Aaron Hauser was 17 years old when he was sent to prison with a life sentence. After 38 years, he was given a second chance when the Parole Board granted his release in March 2021. Aaron learned early on that he could either let his circumstances destroy him or commit himself to be the best person he can be.
A former Parole Project client, Aaron worked in warehouse logistics and distribution before joining the organization in early 2022. “Parole Project was instrumental in my reentry into society after so many years,” he said. “I knew nothing about how to use a cell phone or the internet. Joining them now is a way to give back to the very organization which helped me so much when I needed help.”
As a reentry specialist, Aaron now guides clients through the maze of tasks and obstacles they face when returning home, using the tools and resources he gained from the program and experience to help them navigate a world vastly different from the one they left decades ago.
Terrance Simon credits God for transforming him into the man he has become—mature, patient, empathetic. “Engulfed in the flames of my youthful ignorance, in a quest to seek validation of worth and love, I made the worst and most tragic decision of my life,” he said of his decision that sent him to prison with a life sentence age 17. Given a second chance after being granted parole, he is now giving back to the community, raising a family, and helping those like him who he left behind.
“My current position with Parole Project is a blessing and an opportunity. It allows me to constructively assist others whose journeys mimic my own. I look to contribute my unique perspectives and ambitions to this wonderful work family so that I can not only pay it forward but make a difference one person at a time.”
Neha Nimmagudda is Parole Project’s senior investigator. A licensed private investigator and mitigation specialist, she has extensive investigatory experience in civil rights and criminal cases. Neha has conducted defense investigations on capital and other felony cases in both state and federal proceedings.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science from Columbia University Neha went on to earn a master’s degree in race, ethnicity, and postcolonial studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
She has also worked with and volunteered for groups organizing for racial, housing, and economic justice in the U.S. and overseas. Neha brings a valuable skill set to Parole Project and our clients.
Meghan Gavin graduated from Louisiana State University in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in social work.
In September 2020, a member of Parole Project’s staff was invited to guest lecture during one of her social work classes. That experience inspired her to learn more about our mission. Meghan began volunteering on a weekly basis soon after, tutoring clients in essential technology and professional skills that included how to use cell phones and laptops, write resumes, and fill out job applications.
Meghan joined Parole Project in January 2022 as our administrative manager while continuing her education in graduate school. She earned a master’s degree in leadership and human resource development from LSU in August 2022.
Louis Cruz is a former Parole Project client who joined our staff in 2022 as our resident coordinator. Known to his friends as “Big Lou,” he manages Parole Project’s eight transitional homes, responsible for maintaining resident logs, facility upkeep, assisting with transportation, and ensuring compliance with house rules.
After more than 40 years in prison, Louis received his second chance when his life sentence was commuted and he was subsequently released on parole. During his incarceration, he held several highly responsible jobs and also started a volunteer program at a local hospital to help raise funds for the pediatric department. He continues to volunteer by curating one-of-a-kind handcrafted items that are sold in the hospital’s gift shop to benefit the children.
Jasmine Cole graduated from Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center in May 2021. While in law school she became familiar with Parole Project’s mission through her participation in the school’s Parole and Reentry Clinic. She joined our organization as a staff attorney in January 2022 to represent clients in parole and clemency proceedings and is also serving as Parole Project’s coordinator with the LSU clinic. Prior to law school, Jasmine was a documentation specialist at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana.
Jasmine recognized that her calling was in public interest and criminal defense after joining the Public Interest Law Society, Louisiana Association for Criminal Defense Attorneys, and clerking with the East Baton Rouge Public Defender’s Office. She is excited to be on staff at Parole Project because she believes everyone deserves a second chance and she gets to do what she loves — helping people and changing lives.
Bob, a former client and juvenile lifer, was 15 when he was sentenced to life without parole in prison. After 35 years of incarceration, he was deemed worthy of a second chance. Despite being labeled “intellectually challenged and easily influenced,” Bob rose above the negative influences of prison and became a leader, mentor, and completely rehabilitated man.
Soon after his release he earned his commercial driver’s license and landed a job hauling industrial parts and equipment all over Louisiana before joining Parole Project as transportation coordinator in April 2022.
Now responsible for picking up newly released clients, he is a comforting and welcoming face waiting on the other side of the gate. He also transports clients to and from classes, appointments, job sites, and other necessary services both timely and safely. Bob considers his most valuable asset to be his patience, knowing when to step in to assist clients with everyday but sometimes overwhelming tasks. His unwavering smile and big heart are carried with him on every trip.
Board of Directors
Attorney; Director of Clinical Education LSU Law Center
Executive Director; Louisiana Resource
Center for Educators, Retired
Partner; Advantous Consulting, LLC, Retired
President, SJB Group, LLC
Immediate Past President
Past President; American Correctional
Deputy Secretary; Louisiana Office of
Juvenile Justice, Retired
CEO, LUBA Inc.
Certified Public Accountant; Commercial Dealer Services Manager
Hibernia/Capital One, Retired
CEO; Meredith Eicher, LLC
Reentry Manager; Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge
Partner; Haynie and Associates, Government Relations Consulting
Attorney; Adjunct Professor LSU Law Center
Honorable Freddie Pitcher, Jr.
Chancellor; Southern University Law School, Retired
Judge; Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals, Retired