Kirstin Eidenbach, Executive Director
Kirstin is an attorney who has dedicated her career to fighting for the rights of prisoners and through her work with ATLaS Justice Center hopes to empower the often-marginalized population of prison survivors.
As a young attorney, Kirstin worked at Perkins Coie in the fields of bankruptcy and business litigation. While at Perkins, Kirstin began work on a prisoner’s rights pro bono case, not knowing that this case would change the course of her career. In March 2012, Kirstin helped to file the initial complaint in Parsons v. Ryan, a constitutional class action filed against the Arizona Department of Corrections on behalf of nearly 34,000 prisoners. The Parsons case alleged deliberate indifference by ADC and its officials to profound systemic failures in the provision of medical care, dental care, mental health care, and inhumane conditions of confinement, all in violation of the Eighth Amendment. After over 3 years of litigation, the parties reached a settlement in the fall of 2014, which was approved by Judge David Duncan on February 18, 2015. Shortly after, Kirstin left Perkins Coie to start her own firm, Eidenbach Law P.L.L.C., so she could continue to work full time monitoring Arizona’s compliance with the terms of the Parsons settlement, which she did until December 2018. In 2019, Kirstin left the Parsons case to focus full-time on her work with ATLaS.
In the summer of 2015, Kirstin began imagining ATLaS and co-founded the organization with prison reform activist Jonathon Trethewey. ATLaS became a nonprofit organization in January 2016.
Kirstin, along with the insight and first-hand experiences of Jonathon, developed ATLaS' ID curriculum, a life skills and goal mapping class tailored to the needs of prison survivors. This class is now taught at ATLaS' reintegration houses and to prisoners reentering society.
Kirstin now represents individuals before the parole board, using ATLaS' mapping techniques to illustrate reentry planning.
Kirstin has recently parlayed her long standing passion for organic farming into ATLaS' newest project: Holobiont Farms Transitional Community. Kirstin's other love - coffee - has provided the launching pad for ATLaS' other new program: barista job training.
Kirstin speaks widely on this issues she's seen in her work. Topics range from the dangers of privatization to institutional detox. Over the past year, Kirstin's work has focused heavily on incarceration trauma, a type of trauma inflicted by correctional institutions on prisoners, their families, their staff, and on the communities around them. In addition, Kirstin has begun educating lawyers and law students about the trauma inherent in practicing law and offering coping and management strategies.
In her spare time, Kirstin owns Honey Girl's Cafe, a craft coffee and small bite eatery, in Carrizozo, NM. Honey Girl's, named for Kirstin's rescue dachshund, serves as a gallery location for ATLaS' Freedom of Art project.