2019 ARHE/ARS/AAPG Conference Schedule
Lisa Newman-Polk, Esq., LCSW
Lisa Newman-Polk, Esq. LCSW, is an outspoken advocate for criminal justice reform as it relates to the “war on drugs” and prison reform. She received national attention for the case, Commonwealth v. Eldred, in which she argued that it is unconstitutional to order a probationer with substance use disorder to be drug-free and then incarcerate the person for relapse. Lisa began her legal career as a law clerk for the Montana Supreme Court. In 2006, she joined the Massachusetts Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services as a staff attorney where she represented hundreds of people in district and superior courts on misdemeanor and felony charges. Dismayed by the overwhelming number of individuals prosecuted in the criminal justice system who suffer from traumatic childhoods and mental health disorders (e.g. substance use disorder), she decided to pursue a career in clinical social work, earning a master’s degree from Boston College. As a clinician, Lisa worked as an outpatient therapist providing addiction treatment to men and women on probation and parole, and then as a mental health clinician at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, the men’s maximum-security prison in Massachusetts. In 2014, she returned to the practice of law, applying her clinical experience to her legal advocacy in the district courts and drug courts. Today her law practice primarily focuses on special litigation in criminal cases involving drug addiction and representing juvenile lifers at parole hearings. She has written amicus briefs on behalf of organizations in important appellate cases addressing addiction and criminal law. She is on the Board of Directors for Massachusetts Prisoners’ Legal Services and an active member of the National Association of Social Workers. Lisa earned a B.A. from Columbia University, a J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law, and an M.S.W. from Boston College.