Alexandra Korry, a trailblazing Wall Road lawyer whose potent lawful and ethical rebuke as head of a civil rights panel assisted spur the abolition of solitary confinement for juvenile inmates in New York Metropolis, died on Sept. 29 at her house in Westport, Conn. She was 61.
The lead to was ovarian cancer, her husband, Robin Panovka, said.
Ms. Korry, a single of the initially ladies to be elected a spouse in the mergers and acquisitions section of the popular law agency Sullivan & Cromwell, coupled her corporate regulation do the job with practically a ten years of public service as head of the New York State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
Below her stewardship, the committee issued experiences that criticized the New York City Police Department’s halt-and-frisk strategy, intended to decrease the proliferation of guns, arguing that it was disproportionately directed at Black and Hispanic individuals.
And it concluded this 12 months that disparities in state and nearby funding of education and learning should really be deemed a civil legal rights issue since they denied equal possibility to pupils in poorer, Black and Hispanic school districts.
Her committee experienced potentially its biggest impact when, in December 2014, it issued a 68-web page report getting that isolating inmates beneath 18 decades outdated and even beneath 25 was not only ineffective but also unsafe, and that the coverage appeared to be used disproportionately versus Black, Hispanic and mentally sick inmates.
The conclusions, which adopted content articles in The New York Instances about dysfunction at the jail on Rikers Island, served impress the motion to reduce solitary confinement in New York, which had been contested by inmate rights teams and the Obama administration’s Justice Office.
Momentum to stop the policy was accelerated by the scenario of Kalief Browder, a Bronx youth who was arrested when he was 16 for stealing a backpack, put in solitary confinement on Rikers Island for two several years while awaiting demo, and produced in 2013 immediately after the prices have been dropped.
Publicity about the Browder became a catalyst driving the city’s conclusion in 2014 to ban solitary confinement for 16- and 17-12 months-olds, and later for detainees underneath 22. (Months later, Mr. Browder committed suicide at his Bronx house.)
Bryanne Hamill, a retired Family members Court judge who succeeded Ms. Korry as chairwoman of the advisory committee, said in an e-mail: “Her testimony in advance of the New York Board of Correction, on which I served at the time, and the committee’s in-depth report significantly contributed to the abolishment of solitary confinement for youth under 22 many years of age in New York City jails.” The city is now essential to deliver youthful inmates with academic and developmental services.
Ms. Korry saw the issue as a ethical just one.
“Consigning children and younger grown ups to the degradation of solitary confinement is inconsistent with any regular of decency,” she said when the committee’s report was introduced. “Subjecting Blacks and Latinos disproportionately to these terror is unconscionable.”
But her objections to the exercise were even additional significantly-achieving.
“My personal watch is that nobody really should be subjected to solitary confinement,” she mentioned in an interview very last calendar year with Duke Regulation magazine, posted by her regulation faculty alma mater. “It is, to me, cruel and strange punishment.”
Alexandra Davern Korry was born on March 11, 1959, in London to Edward and Patricia (McCarthy) Korry. Her father was a journalist who was later on the United States ambassador to Ethiopia and Chile, international locations in which Alexandra grew up until she was 12. Her mother was a granddaughter of Gov. Nathan L. Miller of New York, who held office environment from 1921 to 1923, and a descendant of Benjamin Franklin.
Ms. Korry gained a bachelor’s degree in 1979 at Harvard, where by she was the taking care of editor of the pupil newspaper The Crimson and one particular of its initial female editors. She received a master’s in worldwide relations at the London University of Economics in 1980. After brief stints as a reporter for The Washington Put up and Newsweek, she graduated in 1986 from the Duke College School of Legislation, where by she met Mr. Panovka.
In addition to her spouse, a companion at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, she is survived by two daughters, Rebecca and Sarah Panovka her brother, Edward and her sister, Colette Korry.
After legislation university, Ms. Korry worked for the customer advocate Ralph Nader and Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Democrat of New York. She initially joined Sullivan & Cromwell to shell out off her legislation school financial debt, she explained, but turned absorbed in the give-and-consider of corporate apply. She was elected husband or wife in the mergers and acquisitions team in 1993.
Ms. Korry advised Adelphia Communications on its sale to Time Warner and Comcast in 2006 and labored with InBev on its acquisition of Anheuser-Busch in 2008. Inside of Sullivan & Cromwell, she was credited with supporting to make the business far more hospitable to employees who sought to harmony operate and household obligations.
Ms. Korry traced her determination to civil legal rights to rising up overseas and starting to be cognizant of “the enormous advantages of staying American.”
“In Ethiopia, we were dwelling particularly effectively relative to the broad majority of the people today,” she instructed the web page lawdragon last year. “You’d see lepers in the streets. It was excessive poverty.
“I came to quite a great deal enjoy all the options that quite a few of us, not all of us, have in the U.S., relative to lots of persons all over the planet,” she included. “I now sense like there is incredible injustice in this society. There is absurd inequality involving the prosperous and every person else. And we all have an obligation to do anything about it.”