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Sharlyn Grace


Sharlyn Grace is the senior policy advisor at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office and a founding member of Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF), where she served as the organization’s first executive director. Before joining CCBF full-time in 2018, she was the senior criminal justice policy analyst at Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts. In those roles, Sharlyn was part of launching and helping lead the Coalition to End Money Bond in 2016 and the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice in 2019. In 2021, their joint five-year-long, statewide legislative campaign culminated in the passage of the Pretrial Fairness Act, which will make Illinois the first state to completely eliminate money bail. Sharlyn has also served as a regional organizer for the National Bail Fund Network, where she consulted with and coached dozens of community bail funds across the country regarding advocacy strategy and operations. She currently teaches a class on prison industrial complex abolition at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. Sharlyn has also previously managed a school-based restorative justice program in Back of the Yards and coordinated the Juvenile Expungement Help Desk at the Cook County Juvenile Center. She has been a supporter of grassroots social movements in Chicago since moving there from rural central Missouri in 2004. Sharlyn received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law and is an Illinois-licensed attorney.