Sujatha Baliga, Director | Restorative Justice Project, Senior Program Specialist
Sujatha Baliga’s work is characterized by an equal dedication to victims and persons accused of crime. The convergence of Sujatha’s interest in Tibetan ideals of justice and her work with women accused of killing their abusers drew her to law school and ultimately, criminal defense work. After several years as an appellate public defender in New Mexico and at the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York City, Sujatha relocated to California in 2006 to work on capital cases. In 2008, Sujatha was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship, which she used to spearhead a successful restorative juvenile diversion program in Alameda County. Sujatha has served as a consultant to the Stanford Criminal Justice Center for a symposium titled “Rights, Needs, Power: The Victim in Criminal Justice.” She has taught restorative justice at the college and law school levels, is a frequent guest lecturer at academic institutions and conferences, and has been a guest on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.
She often speaks with groups of incarcerated people about her personal experiences as a survivor of child sexual abuse and her path to forgiveness. Today, Sujatha is the Director of the Restorative Justice Project at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, where she assists communities in implementing restorative justice alternatives to juvenile detention and zero-tolerance school discipline policies. In her role as Senior Program Specialist, she provides technical assistance to the US Attorney General’s Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence.
Sujatha earned her A.B. from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and has held federal clerkships with the Honorable William K. Sessions, III, former Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission and with the Honorable Martha Vázquez. Sujatha lives in the Bay Area with her partner of 14 years, Jason, their son, Sathya, and their sweet dog, Django.