Maddisson Alexander

Staff Attorney

Maddisson (she/her) is a staff attorney with Civil Survival’s Reentry Legal Aid Project (RLAP). Maddisson works with individuals across Washington to mitigate the consequences of their involvement in the criminal legal system. Prior to joining Civil Survival, Maddisson was a public defense attorney in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. Maddisson advocated on behalf of individuals navigating civil commitment, youth and adults facing misdemeanor and felony
charges, and children and parents subject to the child welfare system. Maddisson is a University of Oregon graduate who received her J.D. from the University of Washington School
of Law.

In her spare time Maddisson enjoys spending time with her partner and two dogs, Gordy and Peanut, trying new recipes, and learning how to knit.


Laura Del Villar

Staff Attorney

Laura Del Villar (they/them) is a Staff Attorney with the Civil Survival Project’s Reentry Legal Aid Project (RLAP). Prior to joining Civil Survival, Laura externed with the Public Defender Association, where they assisted with research and representation surrounding Blake. Laura also worked as a paralegal at the Lavender Rights Project and as a court clerk at both Seattle Municipal Court and King County Superior Court. 

Laura brings a wealth of knowledge surrounding the criminal legal system and the severe inaccessibility and inequities it perpetuates. Funneling their frustration with this oppressive system into pursuing a law degree, Laura received their J.D. from Seattle University School of Law.

When not working, Laura enjoys playing the drums, cycling, and connecting with loved ones through food and nature.


Chelsea Dimas

Communications Specialist

Chelsea (she/her/ella) is originally from Southern California, but her raíces are here in the Yakima Valley. She is a 2010 graduate of Sunnyside High School as well as a 2015 graduate of Pacific Lutheran University’s School of Arts + Communications.

Before joining Civil Survival in August 2022, Chelsea was part of the communications team for the Washington State House of Representatives, Democratic Caucus. She brings over 13 years of design experience, 8 years working in nonprofit + social justice communications, plus fluency in both English and Spanish.

Her lifelong mission is to serve, fight for, and empower others. Chelsea’s work is focused on bridging language accessibility/cultural/socio-economic gaps as well as amplifying diverse voices through multilingual communications, inclusive storytelling, and design. She strongly believes in implementing DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and anti-racist policies to ensure an equitable future where ALL people thrive.

Chelsea was the first openly Queer, Indigenous Latinx woman running for office in the city of Sunnyside in 2021. She is extremely proud to be the daughter of Indigenous immigrants from Mexico (Nahua and Purépecha) and to come from a long line of hard-working campesinos.

When she’s not working to dismantle white supremacy and fighting for human rights (let’s be real—la lucha nunca para, the fight never stops), Chelsea devotes her free time to spending time outside as much as possible, collecting tattoos, dabbling in whiskey distilling, streetwear fashion, and all things music + art related. Chelsea and her partner call Sunnyside home—along with their 4 feisty “pupperonis,” one very sassy cat, and her countless plant babies.


Teresa Groves

Staff Attorney

Teresa is a Staff Attorney with the Civil Survival Project’s Reentry Legal Aid Program (RLAP) where she assists clients in recovering from the legal consequences of their involvement in the criminal legal system. Prior to joining Civil Survival, Teresa spearheaded the post-conviction relief practice group at a private law firm where she assisted clients in vacating their records, reducing their legal financial obligations, restoring their rights, voiding unconstitutional possession of controlled substance convictions, and seeking relief from harsh sentences.

Teresa is a graduate of the University of California at Davis and Georgetown University Law Center where she served on the editorial board of the American Criminal Law Review. She is
licensed to practice law in Washington, Maryland, and a number of federal courts.

In her spare time, Teresa likes spending time with her daughter, gardening, and roller skating.


Corey Guilmette

Managing Director of Legal Services and Operations

Corey is the Managing Director of Legal Services and Operations at Civil Survival. Corey directs Civil Survival’s Reentry Legal Aid Project (RLAP) and Blake Civil Impacts Project, which assist individuals across Washington in overcoming the collateral consequences of their criminal convictions. He also directs Civil Survival’s operations, including finance and accounting, human resources, IT, and organization-wide administrative support. Corey has served as a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor at Seattle University School of Law, where he instructed and supervised students as they represented clients in reentry law cases.

Prior to joining Civil Survival, Corey was the Legal Services Director at the Public Defender Association (PDA). While at PDA, Corey led efforts to reform King County’s inquest process, which provides a public review of any death involving law enforcement. Corey represented families in inquest hearings and litigation before the Washington Supreme Court. Corey also represented Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) clients with a variety of legal issues, ranging from eviction defense to employment advocacy.

Corey is a graduate from Wesleyan University. He went on to receive his J.D. from Yale Law School.


Michelle Jenkins

Game Changer Leader/ Facilitator

Michelle has experienced the challenges of incarceration firsthand which propelled her to engage in her community as an organizer, a social justice advocate, and a public speaker. Michelle is the founder of L.O.V.E Talks (Ladies of Vision and Empowerment), a support group for women of color. She has served as the Job Readiness Instructor for Seattle Urban League’s Career Bridge’s first women’s cohort, a program that helps formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate back into the community by addressing areas in their lives that create boundaries, such as housing, driver’s licenses, and employment. Michelle is a member of the No New Jim Crow Seattle Campaign, a community organization that speaks to issues around mass incarceration.

In addition to Michelle’s community work, she attends Highline College where she is pursuing a BA in Behavioral Science where she is the Work Study Supervisor, and the Community Based Organization Outreach Coordinator.


Charlie Klein

Staff Attorney

Charlie Klein a Staff Attorney with the Reentry Legal Aid Program (RLAP). Prior to joining the Civil Survival Project, Charlie was a civil attorney with the King County Department of Public Defense where he worked with clients on navigating the collateral consequences of their involvement in the criminal legal system, and on removing barriers to successful reentry. Charlie has also served as an Administrative Law Judge with the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings and as a Housing Attorney with Bronx Legal Services in New York. Charlie earned his JD from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, MA, and also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

When not working with clients to dismantle systems of oppression, Charlie enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, distance running, and generally exploring the world’s many wonders.


Jen Lombardi

Paralegal

Jen (she/her) is a paralegal with Civil Survival Project. Prior to joining Civil Survival, Jen worked for Northwest Justice Project, providing support to clients facing consumer, housing, education, and employment issues, including advocacy for LFO Relief and creating collaborative client-centered clinics for both tenant rights and LFO Relief.

Jen brings decades of passion and practice in the legal system with experience as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in the foster care system, an advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, a legal advocate for people experiencing homelessness, and a regional expert on LFO Relief, working to reduce fees and fines for crimes of poverty. She currently serves on the King County Bar Association’s Removing Barriers to Re-entry Subcommittee and the WA State Drivers Relicensing Task Force.

The work of Civil Survival is close to Jen’s heart. She is a survivor of multi-generational cycles of incarceration and poverty and has experienced firsthand the challenges of homelessness as well as growing up in a family with substance abuse disorders and mental health barriers. She understands that the reasons people find themselves incarcerated are complex and systemic. Jen’s experiences have led her to public service, inspired her commitment to community and restorative justice, and sparked a passion to support individuals who are navigating our biased justice system. 

In addition to her fierce advocacy, Jen has two daughters and volunteers with their Girl Scout troop. She loves kayaking with her family, hikes, art, baking for friends and family, and has her eyes on adopting a puppy soon. 


Kelly Olson

Policy Manager

Kelly Olson is the Policy Manager for the Civil Survival Project. Kelly started as the Thurston County Game Changer leader in October 2018.

After leaving prison in 2007, Kelly used education and volunteering in her community to help rebuild her life. She graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and an emphasis in communications and public policy. She graduated from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy in 2013 with an Executive Master’s in Public Administration. Prior to joining Civil Survival Project fulltime, Kelly was working for the state at the Washington Student Achievement Council, where she worked as a state regulator in postsecondary degree authorization.

Although Kelly achieved academic success and became a leader in her community through her volunteer work, some paid positions with nonprofit organizations, and interning at the Washington State Senate, she struggled to find a living wage job due to the collateral consequences of being formerly incarcerated. After a decade of struggling to survive in a society that consistently told her she wasn’t welcome, she realized it was time to advocate for herself, and all the others trying to rebuild their lives after incarceration. She has found her voice and is using her story to advocate for systemic change for all justice-involved individuals.

Kelly has been appointed by the Thurston County Commissioners to the Thurston County Law & Justice Council, serves on the advisory council for the Husky Post – Prison Pathways (HP3) at the University of Washington Tacoma, and What’s Next Washington’s Employment Advisory Council. Kelly also is involved with national organizations like Unlock Higher Ed and the Formerly Incarcerated College Graduate Network.


Tarra Simmons

Founding Director

Tarra Simmons is an attorney and the Founding Director of the Civil Survival Project.  In 2020, Tarra was elected to the Washington State Legislature. She represents the 23rd Legislative District and is excited to continue serving her community during her third session in 2023.   
 
Her commitment to this work stems from her experiences as a mixed-race survivor of violence, poverty, and substance use disorder, and the mother of two Black sons. She cycled through the foster care, juvenile justice and prison system for most of her life. She believes those closest to the problem are closest to the solution and should have an integral role in leading the end of mass incarceration and healing its aftermath. It was this core belief that guided her career path in advocacy. 
 
Recognizing the systemic racism and barriers that harmed her family for generations, Ms. Simmons embarked on a journey to impact change. She graduated from Seattle University School of Law in May 2017 with the Dean’s Medal and the Graduating Student Award, but was initially denied the right to take the bar exam because of her criminal history. It was national news when the Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously in her favor, allowing her to take the bar exam and become a member of the Washington State Bar Association. 
 
Ms. Simmons has served the movement through several boards, commissions and organizations. She is a member of the Council on Criminal Justice Long Sentences Task Force, the Sentencing Guidelines Commission, and the Board of Directors for the Economic Opportunity Institute. Previously she co-chaired the WA Statewide Reentry Council for four years, served on the WA State Public Defense Advisory Board, the Board of Directors for the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. She is also a 2017 Skadden Fellow, and a 2018 JustLeadership USA graduate.  
 
Ms. Simmons has received many awards and honors for her work on behalf of her community over the last several years. Her recent awards include the 2021 Legislator of the Year award from both the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) WA, and Fix Democracy First. She is also the recipient of the Patty Murray Golden Tennis Shoe, the YWCA Public Service Award, and the WACDL Champion of Justice Award.  

Today, Ms. Simmons has done a tremendous amount of healing work and lives in Bremerton, WA with her youngest son, Dominic, who is a US Marine; and their dog Anna. Her oldest son, Devon, lives close by and they are a very connected family. She speaks nationally on issues related to her lived experience and professional expertise, and enjoys travelling, gardening, hiking, healthy living; and has recently taken up golf.  


Sugam Soni

Senior Attorney

Dark skinned man sitting in public with a glass in his hand

Sugam is a Senior Attorney with the Civil Survival Project. Sugam works to help people across Washington recover from collateral consequences of the criminal justice system. Sugam has worked on a wide range of legal services including criminal record vacates, remission of legal financial obligations (LFOs), clemency/pardon petitions and restoration of rights.

Before coming to CSP, Sugam was a felony trial attorney for the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office. As a public defender, Sugam was responsible for managing an entire felony caseload from first appearance to disposition. Sugam first chaired 20+ jury trials ranging from misdemeanors to capital felonies. Sugam was also the crim-immigration liaison for his office assisting fellow attorneys navigate immigration consequences following conviction.

Sugam received his juris doctorate from University of San Francisco School of Law in 2016. He is currently licensed to practice law in Washington and Colorado.

In his spare time, Sugam enjoys spending time with his dog, visiting family and friends, and exercising or playing recreational sports.


Cory Walster

Community Organizer

Cory Walster smiles at the camera. Bearded face with round black-framed glasses wearing a black Civil Survival t-shirt

Cory Walster is the Community Organizer for the Civil Survival Project. He started with Civil Survival as a volunteer three years ago, was one of the original founding board members, and has led the Kitsap County Game Changer group since 2018. He is a father of two children, a son and a daughter, and he’s a registered member of the Oglala tribe of the Lakota Nation. Cory’s passion for this work stems from his own lived experiences with the systems of oppression and his incarceration in four of the Washington State prisons. After release from prison, Cory found himself as a single parent to his daughter and struggling to overcome the many legal restrictions and barriers for people upon reentry. However, he did not realize the power of sharing his story until finding others in Civil Survival to connect with and learned how to get before decision-makers and elected officials.

In addition, Cory is passionate about school push-out, and it fueled him to organize with others after his daughter was being suspended due to her mental health issues. His contributions to the work of Civil Survival are bountiful, but he is most proud of his position on the Central Kitsap School District Student Rights and Responsibilities Committee, where he was an integral part of redrafting the discipline code to keep children in a learning environment.

He is generous with his time and talents and is highly active with other groups and committees in the community. He values advancing racial equity in all of his work and building relationships with others who have been impacted by any systems of oppression.

Cory is also a skilled gardener in his free time and enjoys sharing his harvest with other activists and organizers.


Julie Wilson

Operations Manager

Julie Musgrove is the Operations Manager for Civil Survival Project. She started with Civil Survival Project in November of 2020.

Julie is passionate about criminal justice reform and mental health care. Julie has experience working as a mental health counselor and nonprofit program manager and over ten years of administrative and operations experience. Julie is a student at Washington State University, and her goal is to earn her Master’s in Social Work.

Julie is also a mother of two, and in her free time, she enjoys concerts, standup comedy, hiking, and spending time with her family.