CASES Honors Joel Copperman & Lee Wood

CASES celebrated two longstanding leaders this past Tuesday at a reception honoring its former Chief Executive Officer Joel Copperman and current Chair of the Board of Trustees, Lee Wood. The dedication and commitment of both Joel and Lee have been vital in the growth and enhancement of CASES’ services for New Yorkers impacted by involvement in the criminal legal system, including people living with serious mental illnesses.   

After more than three decades leading CASES, Joel stepped down as Chief Executive Officer in September 2022. As the agency’s founding CEO, he was at the helm over a period of significant expansion, including implementing the award-winning Nathaniel Project, establishing of the City’s only criminal legal system-specialist Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), and creating a range of community-based services for youth and young adults across New York City.   

In his remarks, Joel said, “CASES has a great future. I believe Jonathan and the CASES team will go from strength to strength, finding new opportunities, developing new, innovative services. I am confident that they will take CASES to new heights. I look forward to their success.”

Lee, who was introduced by Joel, thanked CASES staff for all their work in the community. A pioneer in Pretrial programming, Lee founded a release-on-own-recognizance (ROR) program in Rochester in 1968. She was also a leader in a statewide coalition that succeeded in codifying alternatives to incarceration (ATIs) in New York law in 1984. This included the CASES Court Employment Project, one of New York City’s first ATIs for youth and young adults with felony arrests. Lee will continue to Chair the Board of Trustees, working to advance community-based alternatives for New Yorkers involved in the city’s criminal legal system.  

CASES thanks the sponsors of the event and those that helped to celebrate Lee and Joel, including the Lawrence Foundation for its dollar-to-dollar match for event contributions.

More photos from the event can be found, here.