President and CEO
Elizabeth A. Gaynes has been executive director of the Osborne Association for more than 30 years. During her tenure, the 85 year old nonprofit rebounded from a two-person office to one of the country’s largest and most effective nonprofit organization serving individuals and families affected by crime and incarceration, with program sites in New York City, and the Hudson Valley, and in more than 20 New York State prisons and 8 Rikers Island jails. Osborne’s alternatives to incarceration, prison and jail-based programs, and reentry services include educational, vocational, behavioral health and family programs for adults and adolescents, as well as a wide range of services for children with parents caught up in the criminal justice system.
Liz is a nationally recognized expert on the impact of incarceration and reentry on children and families. She designed FamilyWorks, the first comprehensive parenting program in a men’s state prison. She was co-chair of the Reentry Working Group for the NYC Mayor’s Task Force on Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice, and serves on the New York State Council on Community Re-entry and Reintegration. She was on the Steering Committee of New York’s Aging Reentry Task Force, and was an advisor to Sesame Street Workshop in the development of their award-winning “Little Children Big Challenges: Incarceration” materials. In 2013, Liz was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change on behalf of Children of Incarcerated Parents, and now serves as an advisor to the International Association of Chiefs of Police on the model protocol for safeguarding children at the time of a parent’s arrest.
Liz began her career as a criminal defense and prisoners’ rights attorney in the wake of the 1971 Attica prison uprising, and later as an Associate at the Pretrial Justice Institute in Washington DC.
Liz received her undergraduate and law degrees from Syracuse University.