Avalan Institute

The mission of Avalan Institute is to connect just and objective data, research, and strategy with productive organizations and agencies to impact change as it relates to social justice, with heightened focus on criminal justice, juvenile justice, and racial justice.

Avalan Institute Director and Founder dr. nIAZ kASRAVI


Dr. Niaz Kasravi is a national expert and advocate on criminal justice, social justice, and racial justice. She is Founder and Director of the Avalan Institute for Applied Research Solutions, a research, advocacy & training institute.

Dr. Kasravi is the former Director of the Criminal Justice Program for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)- the nation's oldest civil rights organization. At the NAACP, she led several successful initiatives including campaigns to: abolish the death penalty in Maryland; enact stronger anti-racial profiling legislation in New York City; and free John McNeil who was wrongfully sentenced to life in Georgia. Her career includes serving as Lead Researcher & Associate for the Domestic Human Rights Program of Amnesty International USA, Deputy Director of the Anti- Recidivism Coalition, Director of Community Relations for the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian-Americans, and Policy Associate for Stop Prison Rape.

Dr. Kasravi holds a Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). A National Science Foundation grant provided her an opportunity to travel to Iran in 2000 and work with Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient of 2003, on human rights and the role of Iranian women in the reform movement.

Dr. Kasravi was born in Iran and migrated to the U.S. with her family in 1984. Though her works regularly takes her across the country, she currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Sixteen years ago I dedicated my career to helping reform and rebuild the broken system of justice in America. As an immigrant from a country where oppression and discrimination were written in the law, I expected the system here to be different.
The many ways that inequity is built in the various institutions governing American society first surprised and then outraged me. Through my research and studies, and with the guidance of amazing advisors at and colleagues on my path, I learned to channel those feelings into something more purposeful. I grew up as a religious minority in Iran, during a revolution and then a war. Our family sought safe haven and a new beginning in the U.S., exposing me to the immigrant experience in America. Though challenging, these experiences helped shape who I am and informed my understanding of my own ability to challenge and dismantle systems of oppression and discrimination. Issues of law and inequality in our system of justice particularly speak to me. I’m humbled to work in the highest forums of our field while staying connected and grounded to the communities we are charged with advocating for.

I founded this institute to enhance advocacy as well as contribute to ensuring a new generation of ethical and purpose driven researchers.
— Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Founder of Avalan Institute for Applied Research