This week we will be spotlighting the work of Ruth M. Lavache, a Juris Doctor & Master of Business Administration candidate. Lavache is a first generation Haitian American from Northern New Jersey. She attended Rutgers University as an Undergraduate. She graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice and Sociology and a minor in French.
While at Rutgers Lavache sang with the Liberated Gospel Choir. She has a deep love for music and is currently the Musical Director for the UMass Dartmouth Gospel Choir.
Lavache’s research focuses on the importance of re-entry programs in the Criminal Justice System and how they work. “Many inmates resort to re-offending because there aren’t enough resources and funds being allocated to these programs – compared to resources and funds being allocated to policing and prisons, for example,” Lavache says. “The basis of my thesis is that we can re-allocate the funds from policing to re-entry programs to better support incarcerated individuals.”
Lavache spent two years doing volunteer work at a federal reentry program in Newark, New Jersey. That experience inspired her and emphasized the importance of her work. “It was amazing to see all of the different parts of the criminal justice system (Prosecutors, Public Defenders, Judges, and Probation Officers) working together to make sure that the participants of the program successfully re-enter society post-incarceration,” Lavache says.
Despite the importance of her work, re-entry programs face some difficult challenges. “As great as the work is, one of the biggest roadblocks to successful re-entry for many of the participants and even the program in general is funding,” Lavache says. “This is why I decided to research and write about this topic.”
“What my research has taught me so far is that in order for the criminal justice system to work, it needs to be balanced. So much of the focus has always been on the beginning (policing) and middle (prisons) of the system. To bring balance back to the system, the focus now needs to be on Re-Entry.”
Outside of school, Lavache enjoys music, laughing, traveling, and watching basketball.
Lavache will graduate in May 2021 and has accepted a position with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office through their Honor’s Fellowship and will begin working at the Office in September 2021.
“Long term I plan to continue working with re-entry programs and incarcerated individuals throughout my legal career,” Lavache says.