Clarence Okoh is senior policy counsel on the youth team, where he leads CLASP’s cross-team work that aims to empower communities of color living with low incomes to challenge new and emerging threats from the criminal legal system. Clarence’s advocacy leverages abolitionist policy design to support efforts to build systems-of-care that meet the needs of communities with low incomes victimized by racist divestment, mass criminalization, and technology-enabled rights abuses. Clarence’s work also explores strategies for leveraging civil and human rights protections to promote upward economic mobility and reparative justice for communities with low incomes.
Prior to CLASP, Clarence was a civil rights litigator and Equal Justice Works Fellow at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund where he led an interdisciplinary project to challenge algorithmic racism and data-driven criminalization of Black communities. In 2022, Clarence was selected to serve as an inaugural cohort of Just Tech Fellows at the Social Science Research Center. As a Just Tech Fellow, Clarence will lead a project that investigates the role of carceral technologies in driving school pushout for Black and brown youth; the relationship between carceral technologies and youth poverty; and the role of carceral technologies in systemic rights violations impacting youth of color in the United States.
An Alabama native, Okoh began his career leading direct service initiatives to support families with low incomes and Black communities in his home state. Clarence received his bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in human rights at the University of Chicago. Clarence is a graduate of New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar. While in law school, Clarence was part of the Criminal Defense and Re-Entry Clinic and the Civil Rights Clinic; he was also a Colloquia Editor for the NYU Review of Law & Social Change. He also served as a legal aide in the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.