Staff

Management

Niamh Eastwood
Executive Director
020 7324 2980

Niamh is Executive Director of Release. She is a non-practising barrister who started at Release in 2002 as a legal advisor. She has extensive experience of service delivery, policy strategy, fundraising and operational development. Having worked in drug policy for the last ten years Niamh is passionate about drug policy reform and believes that the most vulnerable in society are disproportionately impacted upon by the current drug laws.

Niamh has co-authored Release's two most recent policy papers 'The Numbers in Black And White: Ethnic Disparities In The Policing And Prosecution Of Drug Offences In England And Wales' and ‘A Quiet Revolution: Drug Decriminalisation Policies in Practice Across the Globe’. She has also co-authored and edited a number of Release's advice booklets including  ‘Drugs and the Law’ and ‘Sex Workers and the Law’, she regularly contributes to drug policy journals and publications including Drugs and Alcohol Today (of which she is also a member of the editorial board) and Drink and Drug News. Niamh is also responsible for drafting many of Release's briefings for parliamentarians and policy makers. She has presented at international and national conferences and is regularly invited to comment in the media.

Niamh is also an Associate of The London School of Economics IDEAS International Drug Policy Project, a member of the Expert Steering Group for the Global Drug Survey and is a visiting lecturer at the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University.

Kirstie Douse
Head of Legal Services
020 7324 2982

Kirstie was appointed Head of Legal Services in January 2012, having joined Release as a solicitor in 2008.

Before joining Release Kirstie practiced as a solicitor specialising in criminal defence. Having become disillusioned with the way drug users are dealt with in the criminal justice system, Kirstie joined Release with a view to tackling the problems at an earlier stage in proceedings by challenging policy and procedure. 

In addition to managing the Legal Team, Kirstie continues to advise clients at Release's legal surgeries and via the legal helpline.  She has become increasingly involved in the organisation’s policy and campaign work, and is passionate about tackling the stigma faced by people who use drugs. Kirstie provides comment in the media on legal and policy issues relating to drugs, and has also presented at national and international conferences.

Gary Sutton
Head of Drugs Services
020 7324 2971

Gary has over 20 years of experience working in the field of substance dependence including counselling, outreach work and formerly managing the largest needle exchange project in London. With his unparalleled experience and knowledge of drugs many committees and working groups have requested his contribution, and he has held advisory positions with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the National Treatment Agency (NTA), the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Parliamentary advisory forums. In addition, Gary has provided training for members of the RGCP, and has delivered lectures for the MSc in Addiction Studies at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London. Gary has authored a number of informative and educational publications including heroin treatment and dependence, and cannabis, and has presented on numerous drug related topics at national and international conferences. Additionally, Gary has provided over 200 expert reports in civil, criminal, medical and military drug cases, as well as testimony. He also delivers a weekly counselling service in a clinical environment in West London to individuals and groups alike including drug and alcohol matters.  Gary has professional memberships with the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals, and the Expert Witness Institute.

Keith Edwards
Finance & Operations Manager
020 7324 2979

Keith does all the financial stuff for the organisation, as well as all of the office recycling - generally because no one else is willing to do it. He also provides operational support and the evaluation reports for the services we provide, and he's the guy to talk to about anything and everything regarding the organisation.  He has an unhealthy interest in health & welfare economics, and you can often find him with his head in hands after reading the newspaper.

Edward Fox
Policy and Communications Manager
020 7324 2978

Edward became Policy and Communications Manager at Release in August 2015 after joining the organisation as a Project Coordinator in 2014. He previously worked as an editor and writer in Colombia.

Edward is responsible for leading on Release's communications and working to develop the organisation's policy positions both domestically and internationally. He also oversees TalkingDrugs, ensuring that the site represents the ever-changing dynamics in drug policy throughout the world and those affected by it.

His primary areas of interest are harm reduction, challenging the stigma faced by people who use drugs, and drug policy and production in the Americas. He graduated from the University of Sussex with a BA (Hons.) in Politics and International Relations.

Legal

William Ramsden
Caseworker
020 7324 2998

Will originally joined Release in August 2013 as a legal volunteer. He has returned to Release at the beginning of 2015 to begin work as a legal caseworker and is eager to assist many of Release’s clients. Prior to working at Release, Will completed an undergraduate degree in Law at the University of Newcastle. His final year electives reflected a strong interest in both Human Rights Law and Counter Terrorism legislation. Since leaving University Will has volunteered in both the benefits and Immigration departments of a London Law Centre. Will has more recently undertaken a four month internship for Amnesty International where he worked as a Human Rights Caseworker in Sydney. During the internship he was tasked with assisting individuals subjected to human rights violations all over the world. As a legal caseworker, Will assists the legal team in undertaking important casework and assisting Release’s clients on the national helpline.  

Jordan Santos
Legal Advisor
02073242985

Jordan joined Release in March 2014 as a legal volunteer whilst successfully completing his Bar Professional Training Course. He now works as a Legal Advisor, attending several of Release's Outreach Projects across London where he advises clients on a variey of legal issues. Prior to Release, Jordan worked as a paralegal for Fieldfisher Waterhouse on secondment for their Public and Regulatory Group in relation to a Home Office  public inquiry. However, it was through his role at a criminal defence practice that he developed an interest in the correlation between drug users and criminal activity.

Outside of Release Jordan takes interest in human rights policy; football, and golf - where he occasionally coaches juniors at his local golf club.

 

Chloe Chinnick
Solicitor
0207 324 2986

Prior to joining Release Chloe practised as a Solicitor specialising in Criminal Defence. She is a passionate solicitor who strives to provide high standards to all of her clients, always aiming to achieve the best outcome. Chloe advises clients on the legal helpline and at outreach projects across London. She strongly believes in providing a holistic approach to supporting and representing societies most vulnerable; making legal services more accessible and non-judgemental. Chloe is keen to promote harm reduction and has previously volunteered as a mentor to young people whose parents use alcohol or drugs. She has also volunteered in needle exchange programmes.

Donna Crentsil-Keane
Solicitor
0207 324 2983

Donna gained thorough experience in Criminal Law having worked for 5 years within Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service as both a Court Associate and Magistrates’ Court Legal Advisor. Donna is a Qualified Criminal Duty Solicitor who has also practiced and specialised in Criminal Law Defence.  She has also gained experience in Employment Law, Prison Law and Family Law. It is through her time in private practice that she gained an interest in taking up a role that would aim to make a huge difference in the lives of others. Donna currently attends several of Release's Outreach Projects across London where she advises clients on a variety of legal issues.

Drugs

Daniel Williams
Drugs Researcher
020 7324 2987

Dan joined the drugs team at Release in the summer of 2011. He is currently researching for the Release website and Expert Witness Team. Dan has a legal background, having attained a Diploma in Law and currently completing his LLB. He has a long history of political interest and activism and is passionate about all human rights and social justice issues.

Administration

Natasha Dhumma
Stop and Search Programme Coordinator
020 7324 2990

Natasha joined Release in 2013 as Stop and Search Programme Coordinator, working on a project to empower young people to safely manage situations where they are stopped and searched. Natasha works closely with youth organisations, community groups, educators and lawyers to ensure the educational material and training developed through Release’s stop and search work effectively takes a harm reduction approach to the policing of young people. Natasha also coordinates the Youth Group at StopWatch, an action group of which Release is a member.

Before Release, Natasha worked for a European antiracist network where she developed non-formal education and capacity-building activities for NGOs. Her main areas of interest are youth activism and anti-discrimination.

Caitlin Oddy
Research & Policy Coordinator
020 7324 3535

Caitlin joined Release as an intern in 2013 after graduating with her BSc from the London School of Economics. She now works as a research and policy coordinator, analysing the Met’s data on stop and search. Key areas of her research include the significance of socio-economic disparities for drug offences, as well as looking into the economic costs associated with policing and prosecuting the possession of drugs in the UK.

In addition to working towards research papers, Caitlin also looks after Release’s communications.

Caitlin has a particular interest in the social and political function of the law on controlled drugs, and the consequential effects on established drug markets and trends.

Taher Gulamhussein
Stop and Search Community Engagement Coordinator
020 7324 3532

Taher joined StopWatch full-time, a coalition of which Release is a member, in October 2014. He supports communities affected by stop and search to advocate for meaningful reform of stop and search. Taher passionately believes stop and search causes trauma and that people that experience such trauma are able to understand how stop and search has developed so that they can call for change.

He joined full time after working and volunteering at a number of human rights organisations including the Islamic Human Rights Commission, the Network for Police Monitoring, Newham Monitoring Project and the Prisoners Advice Service. Previously Taher was a member of the StopWatch Policy Group, which he continues to occupy.

Taher has graduated from University College London with a BA (Hons.) in Philosophy. He has also completed training to be a solicitor – the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Legal Practice Course.

Helena Forrester
Policy and Communications Coordinator

Helena became Policy and Communications Coordinator with Release in August 2015 after having previously worked with the organisation as a Research and Policy Intern. Her main focus is helping to source and provide content for TalkingDrugs and on researching alternative drug policy models around the world. In addition, she provides support to the policy team on current parliamentary drugs legislation and harm reduction services in the UK, and looks after Release's online presence. 

Helena is a strong advocate of harm reduction and policy that engages with vulnerable people in a supportive, non-adversarial way.