Toby Seddon - Chairperson
Toby is Professor of Social Science at University College London and Head of the UCL Social Research Institute. He has been involved in research and teaching in the areas of drug policy, drug law reform and criminal justice for over 25 years. Toby joined the Release Board in February 2022.
Bisi is a qualified solicitor with experience in family and immigration law. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Kent in Social Policy researching the intergenerational lived experience of racialised policing of Black communities in London. She joined the board in January 2022.
Amber is a journalist and an academic lawyer at Queen Mary’s University in London. She was appointed to the Board in July 2012.
David is a solicitor and a musician. He was appointed to the Board in 2012.
Donnchadh is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers practising in public law and discrimination law with a particular focus on community care law and migrants’ rights.
James Hardy - Treasurer
James is a partner at New Laws Legal and is a corporate and commercial lawyer with twenty years’ experience. He joined the Release board in July 2006.
Natasha is Head of Policy and Campaigns at the National AIDs Trust. She previously managed Liberation Campaigns at National Union of Students. Her background is in anti-racism and policing, having previously worked at Release on stop and search projects, StopWatch and the European anti-racist network UNITED.
Peter Krykant is Project Lead with the charity Cranstoun leading on new and innovative ways to create system change through implementation of evidence based harm reduction practices. Peter brings his own personal experience of public injecting drug use and criminalisation to his work and activism. He opened the first (unsanctioned) drug consumption room in the UK which operated from a decommissioned ambulance in Glasgow at the height of Scotland’s drug death crisis and Glasgow’s HIV outbreak. He works closely with a range of leading academics, politicians and organisations like Transform Drug Policy Foundation, LEAP UK and Drug Science to help shape and outline key practical measures to tackle in particular to Scotland’s drug death crisis.
Roger spent over thirty years in HM Diplomatic Service. He completed overseas postings in Ankara, Budapest, Buenos Aires and Brussels. In the latter part of his career he was variously responsible for counter-narcotics, learning and development, strategic resource planning and European policy departments. He developed a close interest in drugs policies after visiting a number of producer and transit countries. He has worked closely with the Home Office and law enforcement agencies. Over the past two years he has been a consultant for a company specialising in capacity-building training for government organisations overseas.
Imani Mason Jordan
Imani is a former editor of TalkingDrugs and Release staffer. Imani is an interdisciplinary writer, artist, editor and curator interested in poetics and performance.
Dame Ruth Runciman (Patron)
Dame Ruth Runciman was Chair of the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust from 2001 - 2013, and is Deputy Chair of the Prison Reform Trust of which she was a founding Trustee. From 1974-1995, Ruth was a member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs where she chaired several Working Groups including those that produced reports on AIDS and drug misuse, and drug misuse and the criminal justice system. She was Chair of the UK Drug Policy Commission from 2007 – 13 and Chair of the National AIDS Trust from 2000 – 2006. Ruth chaired the Police Foundation Independent Inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (1997-2000) which produced the report Drugs and the Law in 2000. From 1994-1998 she was Chair of the Mental Health Act Commission. In her CAB career she set up a Citizens Bureau Advice Service in Wormwood Scrubs in 1989 which was the first CAB in any prison in the UK.
Ruth was a member of the Board from 2018 until 2022, and we are extremely proud that she has stayed on as Release's first Patron.