Visiting Senior Fellow
Harvard Law School
Chiraag Bains, a former federal prosecutor and senior official in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, is interested in criminal justice reform strategies that enhance public safety and build trust between communities and law enforcement. In addition to his role as a Visiting Senior Fellow with the Criminal Justice Policy Program, he is a Leadership in Government Fellow at the Open Society Foundations.
From 2014 to 2017, Mr. Bains was Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. There, he helped lead DOJ’s work on criminal justice reform, including with respect to policing, solitary confinement, court debt and bail reform, and the criminalization of homelessness. Mr. Bains was also a member of the team that investigated the Ferguson Police Department for a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct and co-wrote the Ferguson Report. In addition, he helped oversee the work of the Special Litigation, Housing & Civil Enforcement, Criminal, and Appellate Sections, and managed congressional oversight for the Division.
Previously, Mr. Bains was a federal prosecutor in the Division’s Criminal Section, where he prosecuted officer misconduct, hate crimes, and interference with access to reproductive health clinics. He also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the sex offense and domestic violence unit of the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Mr. Bains clerked for Judge Karen Nelson Moore on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Nancy Gertner on the federal district court in Boston. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an Articles Editor on the Harvard Law Review and a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow; his M.Phil. in Criminology from the University of Cambridge on a Gates Scholarship; and his B.A. from Yale College, where he was a Truman Scholar. He was also a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in New York City.