Uptrust Expands Executive Team, Appoints Seann Riley as Director of Partnerships

Newly Created Leadership Role Dedicated to Legal and Social Justice Partnerships and Reducing Pretrial Incarceration for Criminal Justice Text Message Platform

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, April 10, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Uptrust, the criminal justice-focused text message communication and reminder service, today announced the appointment of Seann Riley as Director of Partnerships. In this role, Riley will be responsible for growing the digital platform’s footprint through local, statewide and national partnerships and further Uptrust’s mission dedicated to reduce FTAs, impact pretrial reforms, and reduce unnecessary pretrial incarceration.

“Uptrust’s technology uniquely and effectively approaches criminal justice reform by reducing — even eliminating — FTAs and bench warrants, and I am both honored and empowered to further this mission to create change,” said Riley. “The criminal justice system is enormous, encompassing many different players and interests, which makes meaningful and lasting change difficult. Capitalizing on the substantial progress Uptrust has already made, I hope to use this momentum to increase Uptrust’s presence and efforts in a diversity of jurisdictions across the country.”

Riley brings to Uptrust nearly two decades working as a public defender, spending the majority of his career with The Bronx Defenders, the public defender office that pioneered Holistic Defense. As Deputy Director there, Riley created the first of its kind, interdisciplinary training for new attorneys providing the skill set necessary to address the enmeshed penalties stemming from criminal justice and family court involvement. Harvard Law School recognized his public interest efforts and awarded him with the Wasserstein Fellowship. Riley’s experience also includes serving as the Project Director for The Center for Holistic Defense where he provided technical assistance to approximately 50 public defender offices across the country. Prior to The Bronx Defenders Seann was the recipient of the prestigious E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship at the Georgetown Law Center where he was a Supervising Attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic. A graduate of Tulane Law School (JD) and Georgetown Law Center (Master of Laws), Riley holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Georgetown University. He is  an adjunct professor at CUNY Law School, and was previously a Supervising Attorney in the Adolescent Representation Clinic and Holistic Defense Externship Clinic at Columbia Law School, and an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School.

“Seann Riley is an accomplished attorney dedicated to helping free those caught in the American justice system,” said Jacob Sills, founder of Uptrust. “The public defender’s insight and voice is so critical for local jurisdictions enacting real, substantive pretrial reforms. So it was critical that Uptrust bring on a public defender like Seann to help inform our product and partnerships. He’s spent time on the frontlines, helping clients and organizations alike. He will be invaluable as Uptrust is implemented into more public defenders’ offices, saving taxpayer funds and helping defendants avoid unnecessary incarceration.”


Uptrust is a text message-based communication and engagement tool helping defendants arrive at court for their scheduled hearings and other mandatory appointments. By improving the relationship  between the criminal justice system and defendants, Uptrust has proved to keep low-income defendants out of jail on bench warrants and technical violations, while also saving attorneys time and reducing the cost to the municipality or county. Uptrust currently is contracted  with more than 15 public defender offices around the US, and reaches over 100,000 defendants. Uptrust is a public benefit corporation supported by the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, RFK Human Rights and the Heising-Simons Foundation; it has offices in San Francisco, CA and Northampton, MA. To learn more about Uptrust, visit www.Uptrust.co.


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