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.

Natasha Dhumma
Advocacy Project Manager
020 7324 2990

Natasha became Advocacy Project Manager at Release in August 2015 after joining the organisation as Stop and Search Programme Coordinator in 2013. Natasha leads on Y-Stop, a project equipping young people with the skills and tools to safely manage situations where they are stopped and searched, as well as delivering Release’s advocacy and educational projects in collaboration with community and youth organisations, lawyers, educators, service users and campaigners. Natasha also coordinates the Youth programme at StopWatch, a stop and search action group of which Release is a member.

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

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.

 

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.