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Wesley Caines

Deputy Executive Director, Bronx Defenders

New York, NY

Wesley “Wes” Caines is a Bronx native of Caribbean heritage and the proud father of two children, Ashley and Gregory. A graduate of Bard College and New York Theological Seminary, his life’s journey has enriched him with a perspective on the importance of human connection and community engagement. Wes is a frequent speaker at colleges and universities, as well as on panels and in conferences across the country on his exceptional personal journey and how it informs his work in criminal justice reform. He now serves as the Deputy Executive Director at the Bronx Defenders. He formerly served as Chief of Staff, a role in which he spearheaded the organization’s systemic reform efforts, including overseeing the policy, impact litigation, strategic communications and community organizing teams. Prior to that role, he was Director of Reentry & Community Engagement, a role which allowed him to work closely with directly impacted communities in understanding and developing strategies to overcome barriers that perpetually punish those ensnared in government systems.

Before joining the Bronx Defenders, Wes worked at Brooklyn Defender Services and launched the Records Accuracy Project, which utilized local area law students to identify and correct RAP (records of arrest and prosecution) sheet errors. To date, he has trained nearly 50 law students in the complex world of reentry and reentry policy work. Wes sits on the boards of the Correctional Association of New York; Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, now Envision Freedom; New York Civil Liberties Union; and Network Support Services, Inc.—leveraging his expertise in the furtherance of helping those who are economically and socially disadvantaged to improve their systems involvement outcomes. Wes is a former member of the New York City Bar-Reentry Subcommittee; a former member of the American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section; and a founding member of the National Justice Impacted Bar Association. Wes’ life goal is the empowerment of underserved and marginalized communities as they become creative self-advocates who challenge policy-makers’ notion of the social contract.