Our People

Lori Curry (she/hers)

Executive Director

Lori Curry is the founder and Executive Director of Missouri Prison Reform.  She has lived in southwest Missouri her whole life. Prior to beginning her work in advocacy, she worked with adults and children with special needs.  She enjoys helping others and being a voice for those whose voices aren’t always heard. Lori enjoys spending time with her family and friends when she’s not doing advocacy work.

Dr. Chandler Easley (she/hers)

Vice President

Dr. Easley acts as a Learning Specialist for the University of Iowa Student-Athlete Academic Services department where her primary focus is to support student-athletes as learners, leaders, & thriving Hawkeyes & encourage their success at the University of Iowa & beyond. She earned both her B.S. in English Education & M.A. in English from the University of Missouri & her Doctorate in Educational Leadership & Policy from Sacramento State University. Chandler has served as an English teacher in many states across the country & in classrooms ranging from 7th grade through college. Her research focus includes the racial discipline gap of underrepresented high school students leading to the disparity of these populations in the prison pipeline. These concerns brought her attention to the Missouri Prison Reform group where she currently sits on the executive board.

Chelsea Mérta (she/hers)

Secretary and Treasurer

Chelsea Mérta is an attorney & political strategist based in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a graduate of Indiana University – Bloomington (2011) & Saint Louis University School of Law (2014), & has dedicated her life & professional career to public service, government accountability & transparency, & fairness in the legal system. In her free time, Chelsea enjoys gardening & urban farming, hiking with her dogs, cooking with her partner, & advocating for a better, more equitable St. Louis for all.

Dr. Sami Abdel-Salam (he/his)


Dr. Sami Abdel-Salam joined the WCU Department of Criminal Justice faculty in 2013. Prior to beginning at WCU, he worked as a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Drug and Health Studies at the University of Delaware. Here he served as Project Director for a national study involving the implementation of evidence-based practices for substance abuse treatment in correctional settings. This research culminated in a number of significant publications in numerous criminal justice & substance abuse journals. His other interests include comparative penology & prison reform. His current research is focused on evaluating the Norwegian correctional system, specifically with regards to its humane & rehabilitative approach to incarceration.  As a result of this research, Dr. Abdel-Salam has participated in multiple national & international conferences, including the Nobel Peace Prize Form, to share his findings. He continues to work with Norwegian & U.S. correctional officials to promote the benefits of a Scandinavian approach to prison reform.