DR. CANDACE M. WILLIIAMS is a native New Orleanian who still resides in the city. She is committed and passionate about education, social justice, wellness, service and advocacy. Candace is an educator who has served in various capacities in healthcare, nonprofit, and school settings As a doctoral candidate in Xavier University’s educational leadership program, Candace’s research focused on connecting counseling and education to improve student and institutional outcomes. Candace has also worked as deputy director of Welcoming Project, an organization that serves at-risk youth and young adults. Currently, she works as a part-time evaluator at Western Governors University. Candace graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana in 2006 and earned a Master of Education in Counseling from the University of New Orleans in 2010. She enjoys laughing, music, and entertainment, spending time with family and friends, and just having fun.
One in three persons in the Orleans Justice Center Jail are treated for addiction or mental illness, and these individuals remain in the jail more than twice as long as those who do not have a mental illness. Black men bear the brunt of the parish’s use of incarceration as a solution to mental health crises and substance abuse, making up 90% of incarcerated individuals facing these challenges. FUSE will partner with New Orleans to reduce its jail population and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system by institutionalizing the city’s Safety and Justice Challenge initiatives. This will include implementing the citywide rollout of a program to divert adults away from the prison system into facilities better equipped to support treatment and recovery for mental health crises and addiction.