Udi Ofer was Deputy National Political Director of the ACLU and Director of the ACLU’s Justice Division until September 2022. The Division leads the ACLU’s political, legislative, and electoral advocacy on criminal justice reform, policing, drug law reform and ending the death penalty. It also includes the Campaign for Smart Justice, which is the ACLU’s unprecedented campaign to cut nationwide incarceration rates by 50 percent and challenge racism in the criminal legal system. Since 2018, Ofer has also been a visiting lecturer at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.
During his tenure at the ACLU, Ofer oversaw advocacy efforts that led to passage of hundreds of laws that will lead to tens of thousands of fewer people incarcerated. He has overseen the launch of new and innovative electoral, legislative, and public education strategies, including the ACLU’s first-ever voter education campaign in a district attorney race as part of a broader initiative to hold prosecutors accountable for fueling mass incarceration. Since 2017, the ACLU has engaged in more than 45 district attorney races in 15 states.
Ofer has more than 20 years of experience as a civil rights lawyer and policy advocate. From 2013-2016, he served as Executive Director of the ACLU of New Jersey. Under his leadership the organization achieved historic victories on a variety of issues, including overhauling New Jersey’s broken bail system and launching a successful bipartisan campaign to tax and regulate marijuana. From 2003-2013, he worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he founded the Advocacy Department. There he challenged the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices and spearheaded the successful effort to pass legislation banning racial profiling by the NYPD and creating an NYPD Inspector General’s office. Ofer was also a co-founder of Communities United for Police Reform in New York City.
Ofer began his legal career in 2001 as a Skadden Fellow at My Sisters’ Place, a domestic violence organization. He was an adjunct professor at New York Law School from 2009-2012, and has published widely including in the Seton Hall Law Review, Columbia Law School Journal of Race and Law, and New York Law School Law Review. Ofer’s work and commentary have been featured in hundreds of national and local news outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker Radio Hour, NBC News, and POLITICO. He has testified before many legislatures, including the United States Senate, and is frequently cited as an expert on criminal justice matters.
Ofer is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Graduate Award from Fordham Law School, a presidential award from the Open Society Foundations, and a proclamation from the New York City Council for his outstanding service to the city and state. He is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law and the State University of New York at Buffalo.