About Us

Arthur Bembury, Executive Director, has been associated with Partakers for more than 15 years, first as a student in the Boston University PEP program, and subsequently as an employee. His business and prison experience make him uniquely qualified to interact with Massachusetts correctional institutions, the Boston University Prison Education Program and our more than 300 Partakers mentors. Arthur is the co-founder of several residential treatment facilities for disadvantage youths in Southern California and has an extensive history in commercial and residential real estate. His experience with the challenges facing marginalized populations drives his ambition to find practical and innovative solutions to reducing recidivism, changing lives, and strengthening communities. Arthur serves on the Board of Directors of The Criminal Justice Policy Coalition, is an Honorary Board Member with UU Mass Action, and is on the Advisory Board of  The Petey Green Program. Arthur is a graduate of Boston University’s Questrom School of Business Non Profit Management and Leadership Program.

Ray LaFrance, Chairman/President, is an international business consultant and earlier in his career was a corporate executive.  He is actively involved in Boston’s entrepreneurial community advising start-up companies.  Ray is a member of the First Parish Church of Weston where he has held many governing offices.   His introduction to Partakers came through our mentoring program where he mentored a student who has now received his Boston University degree and returned to his native Kenya.

Margie King Saphier, R.N., B.S., M.Div. Vice-Chairwoman, is a Unitarian Universalist minister. In 2011 she retired from her position as the Associate Minister for Pastoral Care at First Parish of Concord, MA, to devote her ministry to restorative justice for victims and their families of violent crime, and for offenders. She has been actively involved with Partakers since 2001. She also works with the Louis D Brown Peace Institute in Dorchester, MA, with survivors of homicide. Throughout her professional life, Reverend Saphier has been committed to those who are disenfranchised, helping them to “find their voice” as they struggle to meet their needs, as well as the needs of their families. This was true in the late 1960’s, when she was a public health nurse in Schenectady, NY; as well as when she was a pediatric nurse practitioner in Boston, MA in the 1970’s. For fifteen years, as editor of the Children In Hospitals Newsletter, she advocated for the needs of families when their children were hospitalized. Reverend Saphier is firm believer that education supported by compassionate mentoring results in positive transformation.

Robert Cadigan, PhD., Liaison to Boston University Prison Education Program, is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Sociology in the Department of Applied Social Sciences, Metropolitan College, Boston University. He Coordinates the Sociology program for the College and teaches courses in Criminal Justice on campus and on-line. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he directs the Boston University Prison Education Program. He received his BA (Sociology) from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) and earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Boston University in 1981.  Bob became professionally involved in the study of the criminal justice system and alternative systems of social control in graduate school when he worked in community based corrections and community drug and alcohol treatment programs.  He began working with the Prison Education Program in 1997 and became Director in 2001.

Gloria Spence, Treasurer, is currently on the board of Junior Achievement of Northern New England (JANNE) and actively involved with Interfaith Social Services in Quincy. Gloria has recently retired from Hearst Television (WCVB TV) after 37+ years in various financial positions with her most recent position as the Director of Finance – Northeast Region. In this role she was responsible for all aspects of the financials for six television stations. The Northeast region was the first of five finance regions to be established within Hearst Television. Gloria has also taught labor relations at the community college level. Originally from Pennsylvania, she has lived in Boston for 12 years.

Sally Crissman, Clerk, was a science teacher for over 40 years in public and independent schools and has led professional development institutes and workshops for teachers throughout the country. She currently works for TERC, a not-for-profit research and development organization in Cambridge developing science curricula for children and courses for K-8 teachers who want to boost their ability to teach physical science. For 7 years Sally has mentored students at Norfolk MCI as a member of volunteer teams from Trinity Church, Boston. Prior to this experience, she had little knowledge of the criminal justice system but the mentoring experience changed that! She knows that Boston University’s and Partakers’ work to transform lives through education has enormous social and personal value that she would like to see more widely recognized. Sally and her husband live in Watertown and have three children and six grandchildren.

Jane Fisher Carlson, J.D., became a Partakers’ volunteer in 2012 and has been involved both in mentoring at MCI Framingham and in encouraging the formation of new Partakers’ teams. She holds a Bachelors’ Degree from Smith College, a Masters’ Degree in Geology from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and a Juris Doctor Degree from Harvard Law School. She was an Estate Planning lawyer for over 30 years until her retirement in 2015. She is a member of the Town of Weston Zoning Board of Appeals, where she has served since 2005, and is on the Board of Overseers of the Handel + Haydn Society in Boston. Her experiences with Partakers have significantly increased her awareness of the importance not only of increasing educational opportunities for men and women in prison, but also of providing greater resources and support for them when they return to the community

Thomas B. Tufts, M.A., is a community activist. Upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, he interrupted his doctoral studies in English literature at the University of Illinois to join the Peace Corps. For 15 years he worked in agriculture, educational and industrial development in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Upon returning to the United States in 1979, he completed an M.B.A. from Boston University. For 25 years he worked as a computer programmer in the financial services industry in Boston. He has been active in St. James’s Episcopal Church in north Cambridge for over 30 years, serving on its board for many years and as Treasurer for 10 years. Over the years he has been active in many spirituality and study groups, including facilitating a mentoring group for Partakers’ College Behind Bars Program. Mr. Tufts has served on the board of the Helping Hand Food Pantry, which provides services to 500 families a month. For 15 years he has been a  liaison between St. James’s and the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, participating in campaigns for affordable housing, nursing home workers’ rights, universal health care, elder care, and health care reform.

Tania Del Rio;  is the Diversity Outreach Officer at the Office of Mayor Martin J. Walsh at the City of Boston. Her focus in this role is helping City Hall shape a workforce that is reflective of the city’s population and promoting diversity, inclusion, and engagement among Boston’s employers.

Before joining the City of Boston, Tania Del Rio was the Head of the Protection and Community Affairs Departments at the Consulate of Mexico in Boston. In that role, she worked on ensuring the rights of immigrants in New England were protected and collaborated with community leaders to amplify their advocacy efforts. This work put her in contact with people with a broad range of experiences, including prison populations, children and youth, faith-based and cultural organizations, as well as private sector partners. Working with people in incarceration or immigration detention left a deep imprint in her conscience.

As a former Foreign Service Officer, she worked with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs on using data to address gender disparities in the Foreign Service. Her motivation to engage this topic stemmed from her colleagues’ and her own experiences as female diplomats. Her work was presented with the Outstanding Policy Analysis Exercise and the Jane Mansbridge Research Awards at the Harvard Kennedy School.

She holds a Master in Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a graduated summa cum laude from her Bachelor’s at New York University. She lives in East Boston with her family and enjoys practicing sports, reading, and being an active and engaged member of her community.