Jody E. Owens II is the SPLC’s chief policy counsel, a role in which he develops and maintains strategies for the SPLC’s legislative campaigns across four Southern states. He also provides support for the SPLC’s federal policy agenda and serves as managing attorney for the SPLC’s Mississippi office.
For almost a decade, Owens has successfully litigated class action lawsuits on behalf of children and adults throughout the Deep South in matters involving mass incarceration, private prisons and the school-to-prison pipeline. He has played a leading role in advocating for the passage of laws that have reformed Mississippi’s criminal justice system and provided protections for the state’s schoolchildren.
Owens is a graduate of Jackson State University. He received his law degree from Howard University School of Law. Additionally, he is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves. He received the 2016 Presidential Award for Distinguished Contributions to Justice from the American Society of Criminology, and he was honored as a “Mississippi Leader in Law” by the Mississippi Business Journal.