Niamh Eastwood
Executive Director
020 7324 2980

Niamh is Executive Director of Release. She started at Release in 2002 as a legal advisor. She has extensive experience of service delivery, policy strategy, fundraising and operational development. 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 recent policy papers 'The Colour of Injustice: 'Race', Drugs and Law Enforcement 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, she regularly contributes to drug policy journals and publications. 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 a member of the Expert Steering Group for the Global Drug Survey, an Associate Member of the Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at Middlesex University, and a visiting lecturer at the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University. She is also a committee member for DrugScience and has been a technical advisor to the Global Commission on Drug Policy

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.

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.


Stephen Cutter
020 7324 2991

Stephen is a Justice First Fellow who joined Release as a Trainee Solicitor in 2017. During his training he completed a secondment in criminal defence. Shortly after qualifying he undertook a legal role focussed on reducing the impact of poverty on children in London. He returned to Release in 2020 to lead our work on helping the homeless population during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stephen has a particular interest in providing holistic legal advice in partnership with other organisations. He has undertaken community outreach work at drug and alcohol services, foodbanks and support services for the homeless population. In providing a range of legal services at these locations he hopes to reduce the disproportionate impact of current policies on marginalised communities.

Prior to training as a Solicitor Stephen was employed by BPP University. There he managed the Legal Advice Clinic, which provides free advice to members of the public in housing and family law, and other projects run by the Pro Bono Centre.

Liam Carmody
020 7324 2986

Liam joined Release as a Solicitor in November 2019 after working as a Senior Immigration Caseworker at Duncan Lewis Solicitors where he also completed his training contract. Prior to this Liam volunteered at Hackney Community Law Centre and Bail for Immigration Detainees. As a Senior Immigration Caseworker Liam had experience of representing some of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups through the complex and demanding immigration detention and asylum process.

At Release Liam is eager to continue working to bring access to justice for those that need it most.

Joscelyn Lee
Legal Adviser
020 7324 2985

Joscelyn joined Release in October 2021 after completing the GDL and BPTC at City Law School. Since converting to law, Joscelyn has undertaken casework across a range of housing, welfare, family and immigration law at Hackney Community Law Centre, the National Centre for Domestic Violence, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, No5 Chambers, and the British Red Cross. 

Joscelyn is committed to improving access to justice and is particularly interested in helping those with mental health conditions assert their rights. She is a member of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, and in her free time volunteers as a Legal Observer for the Green & Black Cross.

Rebecca Green
Legal Adviser
020 7324 2987

Rebecca joined Release in January 2022. Prior to Release, Rebecca worked for a charity specialising in housing matters for those homeless or vulnerably housed. Rebecca’s interest in advocating for those vulnerably housed was sparked from her time living and working in the IDP (internally displaced person) camps in Kenya. After retuning to the UK, her commitment to social justice topics was formed and she pursued her legal studies. She completed an LLB specialising in Human Rights in London and her LPC LLM at the University of Law in Guildford. Since then Rebecca has undertaken work in the refugee camp of Calais in 2017 at the height of the refugee crisis in Europe. Rebecca also continued to volunteer her time in foodbanks and homeless charities at home and abroad.

Clementine Simon
Legal Adviser
020 7324 2981

Clementine joined Release as a legal adviser in February 2022. Clementine has experience as a caseworker in public law, prison law and extradition. She has volunteered with the Prisoners’ Advice Service, the English Collective of Prostitutes and Black Protest Legal Support UK. She also has worked in the West Bank (at Defence for Children International, an NGO that promotes child rights in Palestine) and in India (at Kranti, an NGO that empowers girls from Mumbai’s red-light district area to become agents of social change). Clementine has done the GDL, the Bar Training Course and she has a Master’s in Human Rights Law. Her focus in the latter was on the rights of people in detention. She is particularly interested in the way in which drug users are treated within the criminal justice system and across the prison estate.

Joseph Latimer
020 7324 2984

Joe joined release in March 2022 as a newly qualified solicitor, prior to which he worked at Just for Kids Law, a charity specialising in providing holistic advice and representation to children and young adults. Joe’s experience of criminal defence and community care law galvanised his passion for drug policy reform and drew him toward abolitionist politics. Outside his day job, Joe co-edits the magazine ‘Socialist Lawyer’, a print and online publication of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.


Claire Robbins
Nurse Advocate & Drugs Advisor
020 7324 2972

Claire re-joined Release on the drugs helpline in 2015, having previously worked with us in the 1990s as a helpline advisor, and with the Dance Outreach Project, providing health and welfare advice at dance events and festivals.

Claire is a qualified physical health and mental health nurse, with a masters in Evidence Based Drug Policy, and has consistently worked in drug treatment services since the early 1980’s. She can support a variety of callers to the helpline, including people who use drugs, their families, friends, and professionals. She can also provide nurse-led advocacy for people who are experiencing difficulties with their drug treatment provision.

Fenella Sentance
Drugs Advisor & Advocate
020 7324 2973

Fenella joined Release as Drugs Advisor & Advocate in November 2021. She cares deeply about the rights of people who use drugs. Her background is in campaigning and casework, having previously worked as a Students’ Union and Trade Union advocate. Alongside Release, she supports tenants in First-Tier Tribunal hearings, which she hopes is experience that she can channel towards drug advocacy work. She studied English as an undergraduate, but still managed to make her degree about drugs, writing on the portrayal of women’s self-medication. At Release, she works on the drug team with Claire Robbins.

Dr Russell Newcombe

Russell has been a specialist researcher, trainer and consultant in the drugs field for 40 years. He helped pioneer the harm reduction (HR) approach to drug use in Merseyside from 1985, conducting research on new interventions such as needle exchange, education on safer drug use, substitute prescribing, and safer clubbing - including published the first paper on HR in 1987. From 1998 to 2005 he was Programme Leader of the MSc in Drug Use & Addiction at Liverpool John Moore’s University, and then spent five years researching and producing materials on safer drug use for Lifeline in Manchester, before becoming a freelance drugs researcher and consultant from 2010. In 2010 he received the National Rolleston Award from Harm Reduction International. Russell has published many articles and co-authored several books, including Living With Heroin (1988), The Reduction of Drug Related Harm (1992), Potology (1995), Tripology (2004) and Magic Mushrooms (2005).


Imani Mason Jordan
Communications Strategist & Editor of TalkingDrugs
020 7324 2978

Imani joined Release in May 2019. They are the comms strategist at Release and the editor of, a multilingual platform for news and analysis on drug use, policy, harm reduction and related issues across the world. Their chapter, 'Towards an Abolitionist Drug Policy Reform', appears in The Impact of Global Drug Policy on Women: Shifting the Needle, Emerald Publishing (2020), and is available via open access. Imani was a plenary speaker at HR19 in Porto, Portugal, and in 2018 co-produced REGENERATE, a black-led arts festival on the intersections of drug policy, racial justice and liberation alongside Camille Barton. Imani holds an MA in Forensic Architecture from Goldsmiths, University of London and a BA in International Relations & Anthropology from the University of Sussex.

Jesse Bernard
Y-Stop (Youth) Lead
020 7324 2998

Jesse is a writer, researcher and workshop facilitator whose work focuses on Black music in Britain and how it intersects with social and political issues. He is deeply passionate about working with young people through empowerment and advocates for the decriminalization of youth-led music such as UK rap, grime and drill. In 2019, he appeared on BBC 1Xtra Talks to advocate for drug policy reform and the impact of drugs on the music industry.


André Belchior Gomes
Content & Social Media Coordinator
020 7324 2996

André joined Release in August 2021 after having previously volunteered for the organisation. He is responsible for producing content for TalkingDrugs, managing social media and helping coordinate the work of the many wonderful contributing writers.

André also works with drug harm reduction groups, engaging in policy analysis and developing their communications strategies. Before joining Release he worked in health policy communications. André has a MSc in Political Communications from the London School of Economics, having researched the communication strategies used by drug policy reform organisations to influence public opinion. 

Amal Ali
Policy Researcher
020 7324 2997

Amal returned to Release in June 2022 after formally working as a Youth Lead & Researcher at the organisation. She became fascinated with drug policy and the policing of drugs whilst undertaking a BSc in Public Health. In an upcoming book marking the 50th anniversary of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, Amal is a co-author in a chapter examining the ongoing impacts of the Act on the policing of Black communities. Amal holds an MA in Human Rights from University College London and is currently a PhD student at the London School of Economics. Her doctoral work examines racial/ethnic disproportionality in police use of force in England and Wales.