Eric Tennen is a partner at Swomley and Tennen, LLP. His work focuses on trial and appellate practice, with a focus on criminal defense and civil liberties. Eric also teaches Legal Research and Writing for first year law students at Boston University School of Law.
In his career as an attorney, Eric has successfully defended persons charged with serious felonies in both State and Federal court. He has won the release of several persons facing civil commitment pursuant to G.L. chapter 123A as a sexually dangerous person and has successfully represented clients before the Sex Offender Registry Board. Eric has been on several Continuing Legal Education panels.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Eric received an LLM in Criminal Law from the University of Buffalo School of Law in 2004. He graduated magna cum laude from Boston University School of Law in 2001. He has a B.A., with distinction, from the University of Michigan from 1998. Eric has also published articles concerning a wide array of criminal law issues.
Eric joined the CJPC Board of Directors in 2009.
Walter Stone--Vice Chairman
Walter Stone is the longest serving member of the CJPC Board of Directors. Walter served four years with the United States Air Force. He then pursued his studies in college, ultimately graduating from seminary. He worked for the Christian Ministry for 25 years as a pastor, counseling, and teacher. He taught at colleges about the use of academic material to practical life. He developed a sister-city program, was a camp counselor and served on various boards. Walter is an ex-prisoner who spent his incarceration assisting men with their legal issues, helping other prisoner with personal issues. He also served on a Legal Advisory group. Walter brings tremendous life experience, and a long institutional memory of CJPC history and accomplishments.
Allison Jordan has been a public defender with the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services since April 2011. She works in the Alternative Commitment unit, representing sex offenders who have completed their criminal sentences but remain indefinitely incarcerated for one-day-to-life, pursuant to the Massachusetts "sexually dangerous persons" law. Prior to CPCS, she worked for New York Legal Aid Society’s Queens and Brooklyn offices, representing indigent defendants charged with crimes ranging from misdemeanors to high-level felonies. While in law school, Ms. Jordan worked for the Cornell Legal Aid Clinic, the Capital Trial Clinic, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in Boston. Ms. Jordan’s dedication to public service began before she entered law school: she served as an intern, then a child protective services worker for the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families in Claremont, NH.
Erick is an accountant and tax professional who joined the Board in 2013. He holds master's degrees in accounting, business administration, sport studies, and teaching. As an an ex-prisoner, Erick brings a unique perspective about the practical effects of criminal justice policy and programming.
Joel Pentlarge was born in Boston, grew up in Worcester, and graduated from Reed College in Portland Oregon and New England School of Law in Boston. He established a civil legal aid program in Ware, MA as a VISTA Volunteer and worked as a legal aid lawyer for five years. After that, he went into private practice in Ware for twenty years. He was chairman of the Ware Conservation Commission for ten years and President of the Palmer Airport Association. He experienced the other side of criminal justice system as prisoner for 3 ˝ years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk and two years at the Massachusetts Treatment Center. He corresponded with CJPC while in prison and attended his first CJPC meeting shortly after getting out of prison in the spring of 2006. In the spring of 2007 he was invited to join the CJPC board of directors. For the last several years, Joel has served the board in various capacities including Secretary, Interim Executive Director and, now, Treasurer.
Arthur is the co-founder of several residential treatment facilities for disadvantage youths in Southern California. He is also a former Boston University student and database specialist with an extensive history in commercial and residential real estate. Currently, Arthur serves as the Director of Partakers, Inc., a Boston area non-profit organization. As an ex-prisoner, Arthur brings unique experience to the organization, helping address issues of recidivism and the need for rehabilitative and educational programming in Massachusetts prisons. Arthur joined the CJPC Board of Directors in 2009.
Nat, now retired, and his wife returned to the United States in September 2014 after many years living and working in France and elsewhere overseas and are now settled in Watertown. He had several reasons for wanting to return, but key among them was a desire to join what appears to be a burgeoning groundswell against mass incarceration. He is particularly interested in efforts to repeal legislation imposing life without the possibility of parole (LWOPP) sentences.
His engagement is also deeply personal and dates from 1973 when, in the aftermath of the uprising at Attica he was moved to join a Concord-based group called the Peaceful Movement Committee (PMC). The Committee brought together members of the community and men serving time at MCI Concord. They met once a week to talk and share and to work on various projects. He was a reporter then for the Lowell Sun and as such helped with the editing and printing of a PMC newspaper.
It was through the PMC that Nat met a man just a few years younger than him who was at the start of what would be life in prison without the possibility of parole. He remains incarcerated in Massachusetts, though he continues to appeal his conviction. They have stayed connected over the last 43 years and, as he has been moved frequently from prison to prison, Nat believes that as a result he have visited every state penal institution in Massachusetts.
He left the Lowell Sun and the United States in 1976, returning of course each summer to visit family and friends. He worked five years as a freelance journalist in Cairo and then joined the Paris-based French news agency Agence France-Presse in 1982. He retired from AFP, where he worked as a correspondent and editor, in November 2011.
In Paris he was a prison visitor and was part of a national program to offer support and friendship to men from France and other countries serving short-to-medium-term sentences. Through this program he was able to visit four different French prisons.
Nat has been married since 1973 and has two grown children, a son and a daughter, and one grandson. He was born in Boston in 1946.
David is a career entrepreneur and small businessman who, among other accomplishments, built a snack food delivery business from the ground up and operated it for over 18 years. Through his experience with hiring and training employees, David became interested in expanding opportunities for work for the unemployed. He recently drafted a job creation proposal that would consolidate efforts of government economic stimulus, initiatives led by nonprofit organizations, and the innovative potential of the private sector to counteract the contemporary trend of high unemployment that the recession has precipitated. The need for job creation is especially salient for individuals who have recently been laid off and for those who have been incarcerated, both of which groups represent a significant proportion of the population in Massachusetts.
Susan McLaughlin joined the Board in 2015.
In the early 1960s, Susan saw the plague of racism and poverty in Massachusetts as a volunteer at the Columbia Point housing project in Dorchester. After marching for workers’ rights with the Rev Martin Luther King in Boston, she became an activist in the civil rights and anti-war movements, including war tax refusal to fund the Black Panthers’ free-breakfast program.
Susan earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology as a single working mother and began a career as a technical writer in computer engineering. In midlife, she left hi-tech for a second career in local newswriting and photography and began a life in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. For the past 20 years, she has volunteered in the state’s prisons, teaching the Houses of Healing curriculum and bringing 12-step programs to incarcerated men and women.
She is a past president and member of EPOCA (Ex-prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement) in Worcester. She is currently planning a street outreach project for clean needle exchange in Worcester.
Susan hopes that her small efforts, combined with those of many loving and determined people, will leave a more just and compassionate world for her grandson and future generations.
Tony Smith is the founder and executive director of the New Start Project, to advocate for career development of returning citizens. The New Start Project’s mission is to encourage collaboration among returning citizens and communities to remove economic and social stigmas, to ensure safe prosperous communities. He is a member of the Youth Reduction Taskforce in Dorchester, the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation’s Men of Action/Men of Color, and Mothers for Justice and Equality in Roxbury.
In 2014 Tony received the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Community Leadership Award; the LGBT Emerging Leader award at the White House in 2012; Student of the Year by the Atlanta Metropolitan College in 2011; and in 2011 the Georgia State Assembly recognized Tony for raising political awareness among AMC students. The US Navy awarded Tony two medals for leadership in ensuring combat readiness.
Tony served six years in the United States Navy as an Information System Technician. After an honorable discharge in 2011, Tony moved to Atlanta to attend college and became a community activist. He volunteered with Someone Cares of Atlanta, AIDS Survival Project, Georgia Equality, Shepard’s Tale Covenant Church, and Vision Church of Atlanta – focused on HIV prevention and awareness, LGBT rights and voter rights. Tony has: facilitated life skills workshops; forums on political issues; led community service projects to provide HIV testing in high risk communities; and fed hundreds of homeless people.
Tony holds an associate’s degree from Atlanta Metropolitan College and a bachelor’s in political science from Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia, and a certificate and master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Wheelock College in Boston.
Tony bases his life on these precepts: restoring individual lives restores communities; social and economic advancement for disenfranchised communities; and justice for all.
Lauren is a second year Macro Social Work student at Boston University, interning at CJPC for her advanced placement. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and Psychology from the University of Connecticut, Lauren initially wanted to gain clinical experience in treating substance abuse. In her introductory Policy class, however, she realized a passion for criminal justice reform. Lauren hopes to continue to work toward changing our broken system, in the hopes that it will one day be just, equitable, and compassionate.
Tyler is currently in his last year of undergrad at Lasell College pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice as well as minoring in Legal Studies and Forensics. He’s interning at CJPC because it provides opportunities to be in a familiar settings while learning more about issues related to police conduct, prison conditions, and sentencing reform within the state of Massachusetts. Having studied criminal justice and law for the last three years, he has become extremely driven and encouraged to expand his knowledge in this field.