Eunisses Hernandez is the Executive Director of La Defensa. La Defensa, is leading a movement to decarcerate the largest jail population in the United States–the LA County jail system–by reducing the power and scope of the judiciary, law enforcement and the legal injustice system.
A native of Los Angeles, Eunisses is a policy advocate and campaign strategist with nearly a decade of experience in working with communities most devastated by criminalization, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration. Eunisses has seen and experienced the detrimental impacts that criminalization and lack of access to resources has on families and on our most vulnerable community members.
Eunisses has been a leader in helping develop and implement sentencing reforms. Her efforts have led to the repeal and reform of frequently used sentence enhancements in California. Most recently, she has been a leader within JusticeLA, a coalition that was successful in stopping Los Angeles County’s $3.5 billion dollar jail plan. She has extensive experience in developing alternatives to incarceration, and advancing successful budget advocacy campaigns. Most recently, she co-chaired the successful Measure J, a historic ballot initiative that will move millions of locally generated tax revenue into community reinvestment and alternatives to incarceration.
Currently, she sits as the Chair of the Los Angeles Gender Responsive Advisory Committee and as a voting member of the Los Angeles County Measure J Advisory Committee. Eunisses is an alum of the Women’s Policy Institute Local Government and State Policy fellowship programs, and currently sits on the Board of the Women’s Foundation of California. In 2017, she was named one of the 40 Under 40 Emerging Civic Leaders by the Empowerment Congress and the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas. Eunisses holds a BA in Criminal Justice from California State University, Long Beach and currently resides in Los Angeles.